Earwigs are slender insects that get their name from the old European myth that they crawl into people’s ears and tunnel into their brains while they are sleeping. While this superstition has no scientific backing, the pincers located on the back of an earwig’s abdomen are quite frightening to many people. There are more than 20 different earwig species occurring in the United States. The earwig is considered to be a ground insect, but when appropriate, it can easily fly. The majority of earwigs live beneath leaves and areas that contain mulch. It's important for homeowners to know that earwigs don't use their pincers to attack humans. However, if earwigs are disturbed, there is a chance that they'll latch onto skin, which can produce a mild pinch.
What Do Earwigs Look Like?
Earwigs range in size from ¼-1 inch long. They have elongated, flattened bodies that vary in color from pale brown with dark markings to reddish brown to black. Earwigs have six legs and threadlike antenna that measures about half of their body length. Most notably, however, are the pincers that protrude from the back of their abdomen. Earwigs also have two pairs of wings, with their hind wings usually folding underneath their front wings. These body parts typically have a leathery appearance to them. Not all earwig species fly, and those that do only do so in short bursts.
Do Earwigs Really Go in Your Ear?
Contrary to European folklore, earwigs do not crawl into ears and eat peoples’ brains at night. However, some species produce a foul-smelling liquid as a self-defense mechanism, and their menacing appearance can be alarming to homeowners. In any case, earwigs actually pose a greater threat to garden plants, rather than people.
Do Earwigs Bite?
While their pincers are used primarily to aid in reproduction, hunt prey and for defense, earwigs will pinch humans if they are picked up and agitated. While the pinch can sometimes be painful, no venom is transferred, and the pinch rarely breaks the skin. Additionally, earwig pincers do not spread disease.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs
In order to get rid of earwigs or prevent an infestation, homeowners should remove harborage sites such as leaf piles, mulch piles or other vegetation on their property. They should also consider moving objects such as firewood piles and logs away from the home, thereby creating a perimeter around the house that is free of organic material.
Furthermore, any trees or shrubs that cause damp, shady areas around the house should be trimmed. In order to ensure proper water drainage, check to make sure gutters and downspouts drain away from the home. This will help prevent any moisture build up that might attract earwigs.
If you are looking for quality pest control solutions for your home or business, reach out to Ready Pest Control today!