Are Earwigs Dangerous? 5 Myths About Earwigs

There are about 2,000 species of earwigs. There’s a lot of myths about these little creatures. It’s hard not give them scary folktales of laying eggs in your ear when they look so terrifying! Earwigs are normally recognized by the pinchers on the back of their abdomen and small wings folded within the abdomen. They’re normally black or brown, but can also be orange. Earwigs commonly nest in soil or other dark and moist places. 

Finding an earwig in your home is incredibly common. Earwigs can easily survive in colder areas, which is why they can be found all throughout North America. And most species can flatten themselves to get even smaller than they already are, so it’s easy for them to slip into homes whenever they want to.  

When it comes to something seemingly terrifying like earwigs, it’s best to know more about them. Getting your earwig facts straight will help you keep them out of your house, and maybe make them not seem as scary as they seem.

Myth #1: Do Earwigs Lay Eggs In Your Ears? 

No! Earwigs do not lay eggs in your ear. They also don’t crawl into your ears to slowly eat away at your brain. 

Earwigs love dark, moist environments. So although your ear canal and brain might seem like the perfect location for an earwig, it’s actually far from it. Similarly to spiders, earwigs will generally stay away from predators such as humans at all costs. 

Myth #2: Are Earwigs Nocturnal?

Yes! Earwigs are most active at night, that’s when you’ll notice them crawling around more. They like to hide during the day in small cracks, seams, or anywhere else that’s damp and dark enough. During the day, they like to hide underneath flowerbeds and rocks in garden soil. 

However, similarly to flies and mosquitos, earwigs are also attracted to lights. This means you might see a lot more of them gathering around patio lights at night as your summer BBQ comes to a close. 

Myth #3: Can Earwigs Harm Your Garden?

No! These little guys are practically harmless to your garden, so you don’t have to worry if they are hiding in your garden soil. Like any insect, they do like to nibble on leaves, flowers, and other vegetation. Earwigs won’t eat away at everything in sight, but you might find some tiny bites once in a while. 

Myth #4: Are Earwig Dangerous or Venomous?

No! Earwigs are not venomous, and are rarely dangerous. Earwigs can bite and pinch like any other insect, but they won’t attack unless they’re threatened. They do not release venom, but they can break human skin with their pincers. If they do break skin, be sure to wash the area with warm water and disinfectant. 

Watch the area for any abnormal signs or infection. Like any bite, earwig bites can cause cellulitis. Be sure to watch out for the following symptoms in case the bite does develop:

  • Red and inflamed skin that can become tight and “glossy-looking”
  • Tenderness, warmth, and pain around the bite
  • Rapidly growing rash or welt
  • Abscess or pus from the wound
  • Fever

Myth #5: Are Earwigs Edible?

Yes! Although we highly recommend not eating earwigs, they are edible. They are not venomous or have a stinger. If you’re ever desperate in the woods and needing something to eat, you can always lift up a rock to grab a couple of earwigs. 

What To Do If You Have An Earwig Problem

Earwigs don’t pose an immediate threat to your home or garden. That being said, you also probably don’t want them around you, regardless. Earwigs come into the home normally due to weather changes. To keep earwigs out of your home, your outdoor space must be clean and have no water build-up. This means ensuring:

  • Water and soil has good drainage
  • Yard debris and vegetation is cleared
  • Branches are trimmed to eliminate shady spaces
  • Cracks are sealed with a silicone caulk 

If you have a major infestation in your home, call one of our partners at Pest Brigade to speak to an expert today.