What Are Earwigs?

Earwigs are a type of bug that is often found in the United States. They typically live under rocks and logs but can be seen as they look for food outside their hiding places during the summer months.

Earwigs are innocuous bugs that have a negative reputation due to their appearance. Even though it has been reported that earwigs have been found in people’s ears, contrary to popular belief, they are not known to do so. Because of this, the name is erroneous.

Where Does the Word Earwig Originate?

Old English words for the bug—ear wicga—which means “ear wiggler” or “ear creature,” and it was from these words that the myth of this type of insect crawling into your ears while you sleep began to circulate. Even more alarming was the incorrect assumption that once these insects had entered your ear, they could burrow into your brain and deposit their eggs there. This, too, is a fabrication. These bugs aren’t even interested in gaining access to the human ear canal.

What Do Earwigs Look Like?

The adult earwig is brownish-black in color and measures around three-quarters of an inch in length. The forceps of the male are curved, whereas those of the female are straight. Earwigs have a small pair of back wings that, when open, have the appearance of fan blades. Although it possesses wings, the insect is not particularly fond of flying.

Only four or five of the 22 species of earwigs found in the United States are considered domestic pests, meaning they enter our houses searching for dark, cozy places to hide. 

Fun Facts About Earwigs

Earwigs Are Smelly

Earwigs can release pheromones to aid in the mating process, but they can also release an unpleasant stench when they are disturbed. A specific chemical compound causes this smell to defend against larger predators by some earwig species.

Earwigs Are Not Dangerous to Humans

Large forceps on the abdomen of an earwig is employed for defense, and in the case of larger earwigs, they are also utilized for hunting smaller prey. If they are touched, they may attempt to hold your hand or finger with their forceps, known as cerci, but this will be hardly apparent and is unlikely to cause any damage to your skin. The cerci of the earwig are not venomous, and earwigs cannot bite or sting people like other insects.

Earwigs Are Excellent Mothers

Earwigs are one of the most challenging pests to eliminate in Arizona because they burrow deep into the ground. Maternal earwigs construct their nests deep underground to protect the 20-300 eggs they lay twice a year from predators and freezing weather conditions. Most insects do not protect their eggs, but earwigs do, and the female will nurse and nurture the baby earwigs when they hatch, which is rare for most insects. The juvenile earwigs are left to fend for themselves once they have learned to feed themselves. The immature earwigs (nymphs) have the appearance of tiny counterparts of adult earwigs, albeit they do not have wings.

Do It Yourself – How to Get Rid of Earwigs

1. Use a mixture of dish soap and water to spray down where you have discovered earwigs crawling on your hands and clothing.

2. When earwigs scamper around in the dark, they are drawn to bright lights that lure them. Use the dish soap and water approach described above, but fill a small bucket instead of a sink this time. To attract and kill earwigs in the area, shine a bright light into the bucket and leave it out for a while.

3.  Combine olive oil and soy sauce in a small container and set it in a spot near where earwigs have been discovered. Earwigs will be drawn to the odor and will climb into the liquid, where they will drown if they do not get out.

When to Call for Backup

If you think that earwig infestation might be an issue at your home or business, contact Domain Pest today to discuss how we can help!

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