Earwigs are omnivores that feed on decomposing leaves found in compost piles, ornamental plants, such as zinnias, garden vegetables, fruits and the silk from fresh corn. In spite of these destructive garden habits, some species of earwig feed on aphids, mites and roundworms, which is beneficial to gardeners.

Two pincers near the back of the abdomen hold prey, provide defense against predators -- such as centipedes, spiders and yellow jackets -- and are used during mating, but earwigs don't bite with these pincers. Earwigs have flat bodies which allow them to access many locations, especially if the spaces are dark and damp. Although earwigs are solitary, swarms of large populations gather if there is an abundant food source, such as mulch beds.