The most common specie of earwig found in Florida is the ringlegged earwig (Euborellia Annulipes). They are wingless and prefer to live outdoors in moist areas under mulch, leaves, woodpiles, clogged gutters, or in dense vegetation. Earwigs especially like to live under landscape fabric in our landscape beds.
Earwigs feed on decaying plant material, and root crops, and are known to be a nuisance pest in greenhouses. Earwigs can also be a predator to sowbugs and chinch bugs (a good thing!) which makes this species omnivorous. Earwigs are known to feed on dead plant material, but they will also eat succulent plants such as lettuce and it will feed on the roots of radish, potato, and sweet potato plants. The ringlegged earwig is a voracious predator of insects (chinch bugs, cockroach, caterpillars, beetle larvae, and leafhoppers) and sowbugs which makes them a beneficial pest to our landscape although most gardeners/commercial growers will strongly disagree.
Earwigs are a nuisance pest and while they can overwinter in our homes, they prefer to live outdoors. Heavy rains or sudden cold weather can drive them into our homes in search of warm habitats. Earwigs do not pose any structural threat to our homes (like termites) and are not known to be a disease vector (like cockroaches or flies). Indoors, they may nibble on some indoor plants, but this is offset by their predation of other insects like cockroaches.
Indoors, we find earwigs around moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and attics and it is not unusual for us to get a concerned call when a customer finds them in their showers (often they are entering the shower around a ceiling can light fixture from the attic).
Left unattended, earwigs are likely to return to the outdoors once climate conditions are favorable, but most people would prefer to eradicate them. Earwigs are easily killed by most residual insecticides. We prefer to use the BASF line of insecticides and we find Cy-Kick will typically knock earwigs down in one treatment. The success in eradication of earwigs however is dependent upon locating the primary harborage. Simply dousing one area with an insecticide would rarely provide eradication of the infestation.