Silverfish vs Earwig :Understanding the Differences

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Ever wondered about the little bugs you sometimes find in your house? Today, we’re talking about two types : silverfish vs earwigs. What makes them different from each other? Let’s find out.

The key differences between silverfish and earwigs include their appearance, size, diet, habitat preferences, and behavior. Silverfish are small, silvery insects that feed on starchy items and are often found indoors, while earwigs are larger, dark brown or black insects with pincers that primarily inhabit outdoor environments and eat plants, ripe fruit, and insects.

Want to know some cool stuff about these little bugs? Keep reading. We’re going to share some neat facts that will make you say, “Wow, I didn’t know that about bugs.” Let’s get started and learn together.

Household Pests



Silverfish are small, interesting insects. They have a shiny, silver or pearl gray color and move in a wiggly way, kind of like a fish swimming. These bugs are usually about half an inch long. They don’t have wings, but they can run pretty fast.

What do silverfish do? They love munching on starchy things. This means they might nibble on paper, glue in books, and even some clothes. They’re mostly active at night and prefer damp, cool places. You might spot them in your bathroom or basement.

Silverfish are pretty harmless. They don’t bite people or pets, and they don’t spread diseases. But, they can be a nuisance because of their eating habits. Plus, they can live a long time – up to eight years.



These bugs can look a bit scary because of the pincers, or forceps, at the end of their bodies. But don’t worry, they’re mostly harmless to humans.

Earwigs are dark brown or black and can be up to an inch long. Unlike silverfish, they have wings, but they don’t fly much. Earwigs are night creatures and love moist, dark areas. If you have a garden, you might find them under pots or in damp areas.

What do they eat? Earwigs are not picky eaters. They’ll eat plants, ripe fruit, and sometimes other insects. Sometimes, they can be helpful in gardens because they eat pests like aphids.

Just like silverfish, earwigs don’t harm people or pets. They’re just trying to live their bug life. So, if you see them around, remember they’re part of nature’s big family, just like us.

Key Differences Between Earwig and Silverfish 

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ColorUsually dark brown or black.Silvery or pearl gray.
SizeCan be up to 1 inch long.About half an inch long.
WingsHave wings, but rarely fly.Do not have wings.
PincersHave noticeable pincers at their rear end.No pincers.
DietEat plants, ripe fruit, and other insects.Prefer starchy items like paper, clothes, and glue.
HabitatLove moist, dark areas, often found in gardens.Like damp, cool places like bathrooms and basements.
Activity TimeMostly active at night.Also mostly active at night.
LifespanLive for about one year.Can live up to eight years.
Interaction with HumansMostly harmless, but can be a nuisance in gardens.Harmless but can damage paper products and clothes.

Silverfish Habitats VS Earwig Habitats

Habitat FeaturesSilverfishEarwig
Preferred PlacesLove cool, damp places like basements and bathrooms.Enjoy outdoor areas that are moist and dark, like under rocks or logs.
Indoor SpotsOften found in places with paper, clothes, or glue.Sometimes come inside, usually in kitchens or bathrooms.
Outdoor SpotsRarely seen outside.Common in gardens, under flower pots, or in mulch.
Climate PreferencePrefer humid environments.Like a variety of climates, but need moisture.
Nesting HabitsHide in small cracks or crevices, away from light.Create small nests in the soil or under debris.
MovementMove quickly and are often seen scurrying away when spotted.Also fast movers, especially when disturbed.
Interaction with EnvironmentCan damage items like books, wallpaper, or clothing.Help the garden by eating other insects, but can also munch on plants.

Silverfish vs Earwig Appearance

Appearance FeaturesSilverfishEarwig
ColorSilvery or pearl gray.Usually dark brown or black.
SizeAbout half an inch long.Can be up to 1 inch long.
Body ShapeLong and slender with a tapering end.Flatter with a straighter body shape.
Unique FeaturesShiny and appear to have scales.Have pincers (forceps) at their rear end.
WingsDo not have wings.Have wings but rarely fly.
LegsHave six legs and move quickly.Also have six legs, good for quick movement.
AntennaeLong and thin antennae.Antennae are also long but slightly thicker.

Silverfish Diet VS Earwig Diet

Diet AspectsSilverfish DietEarwig Diet
Main FoodsStarchy items like paper, glue, and clothes.Plants, ripe fruits, and sometimes other insects.
Feeding HabitsPrefer to eat at night and in hidden places.Active at night, often seen in gardens eating.
DamageCan damage household items like books and wallpaper.Can harm garden plants, but also eat garden pests.
Water SourceNeed moisture to survive.Also need moisture, especially in their outdoor habitats.
Preferred Environment for EatingIndoors in damp, cool areas.Mostly outdoors in gardens or under debris.

Both silverfish and earwigs have their unique looks and eating habits. Silverfish, with their shiny, scale-like appearance, stick to a diet of starchy materials often found around the house. Earwigs, recognizable by their pincers, are more inclined towards a natural diet in outdoor environments, munching on plants and other insects.

Silverfish Living Environments VS Earwig Living Environments 

Environment AspectSilverfish EnvironmentEarwig Environment
Indoor/OutdoorPrefer indoor spaces.Enjoy both indoor and outdoor environments.
Specific LocationsCommon in bathrooms, basements, and attics.Found in gardens, under rocks, or inside homes.
Climate PreferenceLove humid and damp areas.Thrive in moist areas, need some humidity.
Hiding SpotsHide in small cracks, behind wallpaper, or in books.Often hide under leaves, logs, or stones.
Activity AreaUsually stay close to their food sources.Travel more, looking for food and shelter.
Interaction with HomeCan be a nuisance by damaging paper products.May cause trouble in gardens but also eat pests.


In this blog, we talked all about silverfish and earwigs those little bugs you sometimes see around the house. We looked at how they’re different, like how they look, what they eat, and where they like to hang out. Silverfish are the silvery bugs that love to be inside and eat stuff like paper. Earwigs, with their pinchers, like being outside more and eat things like plants.

We found out these bugs aren’t just pests; they’re part of nature too. They’re not harmful, but it’s good to know how to keep them from bothering us too much.

So, next time you see a silverfish or an earwig, remember they’re just small creatures living their bug life, and it’s pretty cool to learn about them.


You don’t really need to kill silverfish. They’re not dangerous, but they can munch on things like books and clothes. If you see them a lot, it’s better to try and keep your place dry and clean to stop them from coming.

Squishing silverfish isn’t necessary. They aren’t harmful to you. If you don’t like them being in your house, try to find out how they are getting in and block those spots. Keeping your home dry also helps keep them away.

Silverfish can be annoying because they like to eat paper and clothes. That means they can damage things like your favorite books or shirts. They also like to sneak around your house at night, which can be a surprise if you see them.

No, silverfish can’t jump or fly. They have no wings. They move around by running, and they can be pretty fast. But don’t worry, they won’t jump out at you or fly around your room.

Duan, M., Zhang, C., Liu, Y., Ye, Z., Yang, J., Liu, C. and Tian, Y., 2022. Growth and early life stage of Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarctica) in the Amundsen Sea of the Southern Ocean: evidence for a potential new spawning/nursery ground. Polar Biology45(2), pp.359-368.

Meunier, Joël. “The Biology and Social Life of Earwigs (Dermaptera).” Annual Review of Entomology 69 (2023).