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The Difference Between Earwigs vs Silverfish

earwigs vs silverfish

Earwigs and silverfish are two insects that many people often confuse with one another. They both have a shiny, silvery coating to their body which makes them look very similar from afar.

However, earwigs and silverfish each have distinctive features that set them apart from one another.

It is important to know the difference between earwigs vs silverfish so you don't make any mistakes when it comes to pest control in your home or business!

silverfishWhat Are Silverfish?

Right off the bat, we can tell you these critters are pests, although they don't pose a health risk. They measure about three-quarters of an inch and avoid direct sunlight.

Furthermore, female silverfish tend to constantly lay eggs in crevices within your home, making them a problem.

In addition, they spawn as frequently as roaches, making silverfish infestations challenging to address.

What Are Earwigs?

Earwigs look pretty similar to silverfish, but they have a few differences. The main variation is the claw-looking appendage at its rear and they are smaller insects.

Fortunately, they cannot inject venom or anything similar through their claws or through anywhere at all. However, they can pinch you with them and cause some pain, but that's as far as it goes.

Another noticeable difference is that some earwigs can fly. It might freak you out to see it flying straight at you, but remember, it's harmless!


When it comes to color, the earwig has a mix of brown and black rather than the silver tones of a silverfish.

However, you should watch out for earwigs as much as silverfish because they can also chew through your paper!

Honoring their name, they have a silver lobster-like scale appearance. Fortunately, silverfish cannot fly. In fact, they make their homes in dark and damp areas such as basements.

Although silverfish and earwig have flattened bodies, they are usually different in color. Another difference in appearance is that earwig has wings while silverfish have flattened bodies that taper from head to toe.

Earwigs have two appendages protruding from the abdomen, whereas the silverfish have three straight appendages protruding.


Silverfish love eating starch, which includes a wide variety of things. You can find them eating dead insects, flour, cereals, and even vegetables and dried meat as their food.

Now, you might think this sounds pretty standard, but they also eat cardboard and paper. This diet can make them a problem in an archive!

Silverfish will eat through your belongings if you let them, and they defecate wherever they go. That last part is essential as it means they can also contaminate your food.

Unlike silverfish, some earwig species are hunters, although they don't eat dead foliage and insects as their food. Earwigs prefer to stay under the humid dead foliage, unlike silverfish, who choose our homes.

Earwigs vs Silverfish: Behavior

Silverfish and birds of prey find cool moist dark environments. The only real difference is their predatory manners.

Silverfish are not known for being harmful but they rarely put pincers to the ground during battle and eat small insects.

Both are most commonly found in basements under rug walls and they are most actively active at night especially in moist areas of the house.

Both parasites are more active at night. Both are commonly found in moisture areas and are typically found in the same regions.

Need any help in your home? Our professionals waiting for your call!

Where can I find silverfish?

Silverfish are a common household pest. They feed on flour, sugar, and other similar food products. It's important to keep these items in air-tight containers to prevent an infestation of silverfish from happening.

Able to survive in most climates, silverfish prefer damp and dark places like basements, attics, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Are silverfish and earwigs dangerous?

You may have seen these pesky bugs crawling around your home and wondered, "are silverfish and earwigs dangerous?" The short answer is no. These are not harmful to humans. Silverfish and earwigs are often scary to many people because they have large pincers.

They only eat what we leave lying around the house like paper, clothing, food scraps, and other organic material.

Though they do not pose a risk to human life they can be incredibly annoying so it's important to keep an eye out for them!

How do I get rid of earwigs and silverfish?

You may be wondering how to get rid of silverfish or earwigs. You are not alone! These pesky bugs can be found in the strangest places and they seem impossible to exterminate.

Luckily, there are some methods that work well for getting rid of these pests so you can live free from their infestation.

  • Keep your property free of fallen trees, leaf piles, and other debris.
  • Seal up any openings in your home’s exterior walls and foundation.
  • Eliminate excess moisture in your home.
  • Keep your basement dry by using a dehumidifier.
  • Repair leaking pipes.
  • Trim any overgrown vegetation away from the exterior of your home.
  • Keep the soil around your home's foundation as dry as possible.
  • Inspect small potted plants and outdoor furniture for earwigs before bringing them inside.
  • Keep food sources restricted to the outside of the home, by storing dry foods in air-tight containers.

When to Call a Pest Control Professional

Earwig vs silverfish may look terrifying to some and there is a difference between silverfish and earwigs, but they're little more than a nuisance.

Keep important papers protected from them, and make sure to contact professional help, such as 24H Pest Pros service, if necessary.

Our certified pest treatment experts will be able to help you determine what pest needs treatment for using our inspection service.

Call 24h Pest Pros to clean out your house today of this alien creature! Learn some helpful facts about earwigs or silverfish in your yard. Preventing Earwigs.

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
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