Earwig

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Dermaptera
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1" - 3"

No. The Earwig is not out to burrow into your ear and lay eggs on your brain. Yes, you can rest easy tonight. :)

Threat Level
1
Nuisance Score
4

Characteristics

Earwigs are small, brown insects that are found all over the world. They are about 1 inch long and have distinctive pincers at the end of their abdomen which they can use for hunting. Earwigs are known for their ability to burrow, which they do to hide during the day.

There is a common misconception that these insects burrow into human ears and lay eggs on the brain - this is not true and very very false. For the most part, these insects are quite harmless.

Some earwigs do have wings, though they only fly for short bursts at a time.

Biology

Earwigs are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including plants, insects, and decaying matter. They are nocturnal and prefer damp, cool environments. Earwigs reproduce relatively quickly and can produce up to 50 offspring per year.

Although they look scary with their abdominal pincers, earwigs are pretty easy going insects. They have been known to release an odor when they feel threatened which some have likened to smelling like battery acid. 

Although earwigs may bite, in general most of them have mouths that are so small that you wouldn’t even feel it.

Earwigs usually lay their eggs in Autumn, nurse them during the Winter, and hatch during the spring.

Habitat

Earwigs can be found in a variety of habitats, including fields, forests, gardens, and even our homes. They prefer damp, cool environments and are often found hiding under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and in loose sediment. 

Earwigs are found all over the world except Antarctica, and there are roughly 2,000 identified species.

Human Interaction

While earwigs are not generally considered a serious pest, they can be a nuisance in the home or garden. They can damage plants and crops and can become a problem if they invade your home in large numbers.

Again, they may release an odor when threatened which can stink up your living spaces and if they bite you, you will likely be fine and may not even feel it. Bigger ones may attempt to pinch you, but they tend to only do so defensively; avoiding the insect will prevent this.

FAQ

How can I get rid of earwigs?
How do earwigs get into my home?
How do I identify an earwig?

Pest Control

If you have a serious earwig problem, you may need to call a professional pest control company. A pest control company will have the experience and expertise to get rid of your earwig problem quickly and effectively.

Here are some tips to help prevent earwigs from invading your home:

  • Seal up any cracks and holes in your foundation, windows, and doors.
  • Clean up food spills immediately.
  • Reduce clutter in your home.
  • Inspect your home regularly for signs of earwigs.

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