What's the Difference Between Earwigs & Silverfish?

In Missouri, there are tons of bugs that we encounter in our homes. Usually these pests can be categorized within the same species, there are a few bugs that are unlike any others. Often, these two get confused and think of them as the same insect, the Earwig and Silverfish are two very unique insects. Best Pest Control is here to explain the difference between the two. If you think you may have an infestation of either of these pesky insects, give the best pest control company at the Lake of the Ozarks a call.

How to Tell Earwigs and Silverfish Apart 


Here are a few ways to tell the difference between earwigs and silverfish.

Earwigs have slightly flattened bodies, however, that’s the only resemblance it has to the silverfish. Earwigs are usually brown or black and some have stripes of reddish coloring on their heads and limbs. Earwigs can be anywhere from ¼ of an inch to 1 ¼ inches long. Earwigs have wings, but they hardly ever fly. One of the earwig’s most distinctive features are its cerci. Cerci are two hard appendages that resemble pinchers extending from the backend of the abdomen.

Their name basically says it all. Silverfish are pearl gray and shiny. They have slightly flattened bodies and they do not have wings. Because they don’t have wings, there’s no such thing as a flying silverfish. They look like a tiny silver lobster without pinchers because of the way their body tapers from the head to the tail. Silverfish can be anywhere from ½ of an inch to 1-inch long. They also have three tail-like appendages that look like antennae.


When it comes to food, earwigs and silverfish prefer similar things. 

Silverfish mainly prefer starches. They are also known to feed on books and certain paper products because of the starches in the paper. They also like glues used in old books and wallpaper installation.

Earwigs mostly eat plants and decaying organic matter.


Earwigs and silverfish don’t really look alike, they eat similar things, but what about their habitat?

If you want to see a silverfish, you should look in parts of your home that are moist and that usually don’t see a lot of foot traffic. If they place has food sources like old newspapers or books, they may never want to leave. This is even more likely if you live in a house that has wooden shingles. Wooden shingles tend to mold and silverfish can feed on that.

Luckily, earwigs prefer the great outdoors. They are nocturnal and look for damp, dark places to live. Places like this include the underside of flagstones, tree bark, or decaying wood. The only time these insects will cause you any problems is if they move to the inside of your house. If they do make it inside of your house, you will more than likely find them in your basement, bathroom, or a small dark crawl space.

While it may be easy to classify these two insects as the same, the truth is that they have many differences. One thing that they both have in common is that they’re hard to control if they infest your home. If you think you may have a problem with silverfish or earwigs, make sure you contact the best pest control at the Lake of the Ozarks. Our skilled technicians at Best Pest Control can evaluate your individual situation and recommend the best plan of action for your home


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