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Debunking Top Earwig Myths

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While they get their names from the idea that these little critters crawl into your ears and lay eggs, the truth about earwigs is that their reputation is worse than reality. In several different languages (including French, German, Russian, and English) these little guys are named for crawling into ears. Really, this is a misnomer because these pests are no more likely to crawl into your ears than any other critter, such as spiders, moths, ticks, fruit flies, or even bed bugs.

Earwig Myths

Myths About Earwigs

If they are named for crawling or “wiggling” into ears but they really don’t, it begs the question about what other information regarding earwigs is also untrue. These myths and legends about earwigs have made their way around, but don’t have much grounding in reality.

  • Earwigs Lay Eggs in Ears. Since they avoid humans whenever they can, earwigs are unlikely to spend enough time there to lay eggs.
  • Earwigs Can Crawl Into the Brain. They absolutely don’t want to crawl into your brain—nor are they able.
  • Earwigs Will Pinch or Bite You. It’s true that earwigs do have pincers (called cerci) but these are used for earwigs to defend themselves against other insects. Cerci aren’t used to pinch humans because earwigs are too afraid of humans to go anywhere near them—much less pinch or bite them.
  • Earwigs Are Poisonous. Even if a human did get pinched by an earwig for some unusual reason, there is nothing to fear as earwigs are not poisonous and they do not even carry any diseases.

Read More: 9 Most Unusual and Uniuqe Insects

Truth About Earwigs

Earwigs are mid-sized insects with flat bodies that are usually black or brown in appearance. Sometimes they have reddish color and/or stripes on their limbs or heads. Ranging from ¼” to 1 ¼” long, the pinchers on the ends of their forelegs are their most notable feature.

Although they might come inside at random times, normally earwigs don’t want to live inside a house. In fact, they prefer to live near rotting wood, bark, rocks, or other organic debris. They like damp, dark places and are nocturnal so you are unlikely to see them out and about in your home during the day. Some species of earwigs can release a foul smell as a response to being threatened.

See Also: Mice Fact or Fiction [Infographic]

Getting Rid of Earwigs

While these pests are rarely harmful to people, you still don’t want them in your house. If an occasional earwig gets into your home from outside, simply brush it outside and give your house a good vacuuming (paying special attention to dark corners).

If you want to prevent an earwig infestation in your home, there are some things you can do to make your home less interesting for them.

  • Keep firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your house
  • Use mulch in layers less than 2 inches deep
  • Avoid having shrubbery or grass touch your home—leave a 1 foot gap
  • Keep rain gutters clean and carrying water away from your house
  • Maintain a tidy yard and remove organic debris
  • Seal up cracks and crevices that could be entry points
  • Vacuum often
  • Fix pipes or faucets
  • Dehumidify if your house has damp areas
  • Keep pet food and water contained
  • Exercise prevention and earwig control with the help of a pest control specialist

If you regularly find earwigs in your home, you may have an infestation. In this case, your best course of action is to contact a pest control professional to assist you with a healthy plan to get rid of earwigs. For Houston pest control, contact Cypress Creek for prevention, inspection, evaluation, and extermination.  

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