Earwig, insect of the order Dermaptera distinguished by the pair of pincers at the tip of the abdomen. The short forewings act as covers for the membranous hindwings. Earwigs are nocturnal, hiding by day in crevices. They eat plant material, and the introduced European earwig is a pest in greenhouses in the United States. The female guards and cleans the eggs. The insect is named from the mistaken belief that it crawls into the ears of sleeping persons.