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Earwigs are insects which are readily recognized by the pinchers or forcep-like appendages at the end of the abdomen. They are primarily scavengers on dead animal and plant material, while some species are predatory. Other species may actually feed on living plants. They are active at night, and some species are attracted to lights in large numbers. During the day, they usually find shelter beneath stones, boards, and debris.
The striped earwig, found in the southern United States, is about 1 inch long, and is readily attracted to lights. It produces a strong odor when disturbed or crushed. The striped earwig is lighter in color than the other earwigs, and the protonum and front wings are usually marked with pale “stripes” along the edges and in the middle. Few earwigs survive winter outdoors in cold climates. They can be found in tight crevices in woodland, fields and gardens. Out of about 1,800 species, about 25 occur in North America.