Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs

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Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs? Don’t Be Afraid of Their Name. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

Trusted Source Earwig Crawling in the Ear: Myth or Truth – PMC www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Earwigs

Earwigs are generally harmless bugs with a bad reputation . Despite what you may have heard, they are not known to climb into your ears, although there have been cases of earwigs being found in the ear. The name is inaccurate. The bug’s name comes from the Old English words ear wicga, which roughly translates to “ear wiggler” or “ear creature,” which is how the myth began about this type of insect crawling into your ears while you sleep. Even more disturbing, the mistaken belief held that once in the ear, these insects can tunnel into your brain and lay eggs there. This, too, is false. These bugs aren’t even interested in entering the human ear.

The adult earwig is brownish-black and about three-quarters of an inch long. The male’s forceps are curved and the female’s are straight. Earwigs have a tiny pair of rear wings that look like fans when they’re open. Even though it has wings, the insect isn’t big on flying.

Of the 22 species of earwigs in the U.S., only four or five of them are household pests that ever venture into our homes seeking dark, cozy places for shelter. (Not your ears.)

Where Do Earwigs Live?

Earwigs hide out during the day under and inside leaves, in ground-level debris outdoors, stones, garden mulch, under loose tree bark, and cracks and crevices of trunks. They like dark, shaded, moist environments.

It’s only when they’re disturbed (by humans, for instance) that earwigs scurry off looking for fresh hiding places that might include indoors, where they are often mistaken for cockroaches.

Earwigs are scavengers that come out at night to eat decaying organic rubbish, plus grass, plants, flowers, berries, shrubs, moss, and other insects — dead or alive — such as caterpillars and the eggs from moths and other pests.

Earwig eggs are small, oval, and pearly white in color, and are laid in batches of 30 to 60 in underground nests — far removed from your ears — during the stretch of seasons from fall to spring.

Earwig Risks

Looks are deceiving when it comes to earwigs. Their claw-like forceps, called cerci, can seem menacing at first glance. But they use their pincers for protection from other animals and to capture prey, not to pinch or bite people.

All in all, earwigs aren’t dangerous. They don’t usually bite people or spread disease. But you could get pinched by their “claws” if you pick up an earwig. The pinch might hurt, but their pincers don’t have venom. But they can wreak havoc on gardens, fruit, and leaves and stunt the growth of young seedlings.

How to Prevent Earwigs

If you do notice earwigs in your home, there are three ways to get rid of them.

Seal cracks around windows and doors and move debris away from your home. Earwigs like moist, covered to places to hide and nest, such as mulch, leaf piles and grass clippings. Keep windows and doorways clear of these kinds of earwig-friendly habitats and make sure your gutters and drains are clearing rainwater away from the house to avoid moisture.

Use traps such as rolled up corrugated cardboard or newspapers with a small amount of food inside (wheat bran and wheat germ has proven popular with these little critters). Once the earwigs have gathered inside, you can bag and discard the trap or empty the earwigs out into a small container of oil where they will be trapped. Similarly, you can submerge small cups of oil in the ground near earwig nesting areas. Leave a little room at the top of the container to lure the earwigs into the oil where they will drown.

Spray pesticides around the exterior of your home. Follow directions carefully.

Show Sources

Penn State College of Agricultural Studies: “European Earwigs.”

Farmers’ Almanac: “How Did These 7 Bugs Get Their Names?”

Washington State University: “WSU Tree Fruit.”

Lexico, Powered by Oxford: “Definition of the word ‘earwig.’”

Colorado State University Extension: “European Earwigs”

Medscape: “What are the health risks of cockroach and earwig exposures?”

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs? Don’t Be Afraid of Their Name

Phyllis McMahon

One of the peculiar features of earwigs is their pincers, which can be found on top of their abdomen. Due to this, many people are afraid of these insects as they believe they are harmful. Another peculiar feature is their name. So, why are earwigs called earwigs?

Our guide will go into the root of the name and whether these insects are harmful to you. Luckily, the old wives’ tales you might have heard about earwigs aren’t true, so these insects shouldn’t freak you out too much. Let’s take a closer look below.

About Earwigs

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs? Don’t Be Afraid of Their Name

Before we answer the question, “why are they called earwigs” let’s take a look at what this insect is.

Earwigs are nocturnal and omnivorous insects. There are about 2000 species around the world, in every continent except Antarctica.

Trusted Source Earwig Checklist of the USA www.earwigs-online.de

Of these 28 species, only five will come into your house looking for shelter when the outdoors is too hot or too cold for them.

Earwigs feed on plants, animals, and decaying organic matter.

The pincers can quickly identify earwigs on their abdomen. The adult can grow up to 16 millimeters with a brownish-black color. They usually have rear wings that look like fans when they are open. Although they have wings, they don’t fly often but prefer to run from place to place.

Earwig’s bites are not harmful, and they will not cause any damage to your structural integrity or your body. But they can damage your garden since they eat different kinds of plants, flowers, and seedlings, depending on their species.

There are different ways for earwigs to come into your home, primarily through the cracks and crevices in the wall, window, or door. Spiders can also enter your house this way. To avoid this, use the best traps for spiders or the best outdoor spider sprays.

Earwigs are attracted to moisture and food sources, so you will mostly find them in the bathroom, kitchen, or damp basements.

Why Are They Called Earwigs?

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs? Don’t Be Afraid of Their Name

Earwigs don’t have a good reputation because of their name, but they are generally very harmless bugs. Due to the name, most people think they will climb into ears, but this is not the case. There have been cases of earwigs being found in the ear, but this is very rare.

But why are earwigs called that if they don’t enter the ear?

The name of earwigs is from ‘ear wicga’, which are Old English words. The name translates to ‘ear creature’ or ‘ear wiggler.’

This is where the myth

Trusted Source Earwig Crawling in the Ear: Myth or Truth – PMC www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

behind earwigs came from: the insect will use its pincers to crawl into your ears while you’re asleep and lay eggs there.

The origin of the name goes back to the first millennium and superstitions. People believed these insects would cause deafness or insanity when they breed in their brains. The myths surrounding earwigs are widespread around Europe, with almost every language having similar names for the insect, all related to the ear.

Where Do Earwigs Live?

Earwigs can be found on every continent except Antarctica but are primarily found in the southern and southwestern parts of the United States. They usually prefer to stay outdoors, in grasses, under leaves, mulch, logs, woods, rocks, bark, and lawn clippings. If you find them in your garden or yard, it is a good idea to use American Brand Permethrin Granules to prevent their infestation.

Earwigs can also be beneficial and prevent aphids and other harmful insects in your garden.

These insects prefer to stay in warm, moist, and dark locations. But, when winter comes, they find it hard to survive, so they move indoors, although a few will burrow underground and hibernate until the weather is warm. Earwigs can also move into your house.

Once they enter your house, earwigs will stay in basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and other damp areas. They hide in cracks and can climb walls or ceilings. You can use the best roach killers to stop their infestation.

Dangerous or Not

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs? Don’t Be Afraid of Their Name

Now that we’ve answered your question on why are earwigs called earwigs, you might be wondering if these pesky insects are dangerous. When it comes to earwigs, their looks are deceiving. The cerci, which are the forceps, look dangerous.

Earwigs use their cerci to protect themselves from other animals and capture smaller insects, rather than biting or pinching people.

If you pick up an earwig, you could get an earwig bite

Trusted Source Earwig Bite: In Your Ear, Symptoms, and Images Earwigs can bite people, but they rarely do. Instead, they’re more likely to pinch your skin and hold on tight. Here’s what to do if you get pinched. www.healthline.com

. It will hurt a bit, but they don’t have any venom. When left alone, earwigs don’t bite people or spread any diseases. But, your garden and lawn won’t be safe from earwigs as they can damage your plants, fruits, leaves, and seedlings. To avoid these troubles, you can use Bonide Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer. This safe insecticide is effective against many insects and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the answer to the question “why are earwigs called earwigs”, you can rest assured that these insects are only pesky and annoying but will not harm you. Although your garden isn’t safe from these insects, you can rest assured that your family is. If you have an earwig infestation, you can keep them away with pesticides, natural scents like peppermint, and traps. Sealing cracks that they can use to enter your home is also a good idea.

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs?

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs

Earwigs are small, flat insects that measure about half an inch long and an eighth of an inch in width when full-grown. Dark brown and shiny, they have banded abdomens that end in a long pair of scary-looking pinchers. If you’ve ever tried to pick up an earwig, you may have gotten pinched—but you also probably noticed those pinchers weren’t actually very powerful. An earwig’s pinch might make you yelp in surprise, but it probably won’t break the skin, and it almost always happens defensively—meaning, the earwig is frightened and trying to fight off a larger, scarier enemy (you!). So why are earwigs called earwigs, and are the rumors true—do earwigs crawl in your ear? Let’s find out more about this often misunderstood insect.

If you’ve ever tried to pick up an earwig, you may have gotten pinched—but you also probably noticed those pinchers weren’t actually very powerful. An earwig’s pinch might make you yelp in surprise, but it probably won’t break the skin, and it almost always happens defensively—meaning, the earwig is frightened and trying to fight off a larger, scarier enemy (you!). So why are earwigs called earwigs, and are the rumors true—do earwigs crawl in your ear? Let’s find out more about this often misunderstood insect.

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs?

The source of the earwig’s rather unfortunate name is the commonly held idea that while humans are sleeping, earwigs crawl into their ears to lay eggs in people’s brains. Yuck!

Fortunately, this story is nothing more than a myth. While it’s certainly possible, even likely, that at some point in the course of human history, an earwig has happened to crawl into someone’s ear, it was likely an accidental and isolated incident.

The good news is, this happens only rarely, and as horrifying an experience as it might be, in the earwig’s case, it probably wasn’t on purpose. Earwigs as a species simply do not make it a point to seek out sleeping humans’ ears for expeditions.

Where Do Earwigs Live and What Do They Eat?

If they don’t lay eggs in human brains or feed on our gray matter, what do earwigs eat? Their main dietary staple is damp, rotting leaves and wood, which is why they often make their homes in dead tree stumps and beneath piles of mulch or leaves in gardens. They might also occasionally consume living plants and vegetables, along with small insects like aphids or mites. But generally speaking, earwigs tend to stick to decaying plant matter as their main food source.

Do Earwigs Infest Homes or Cause Other Damage?

So now we know earwigs don’t consider humans a delicacy and they don’t seek out our ear cavities for making nests or laying their eggs. Do they cause any other type of damage or trouble that might affect humans? The short answer is no. While an earwig might enter your home by accident, it’s not likely to seek indoor shelter unless it’s especially dry outside. In that case, earwigs might explore inside your home, especially if you live in greenhouse conditions, keeping lots of indoor plants with moist, dense soil that earwigs can access easily. But unlike termites or other destructive and invasive pests, earwigs are highly unlikely to infest your home and won’t cause structural damage if they do.

While an earwig might enter your home by accident, it’s not likely to seek indoor shelter unless it’s especially dry outside. In that case, earwigs might explore inside your home, especially if you live in greenhouse conditions, keeping lots of indoor plants with moist, dense soil that earwigs can access easily. But unlike termites or other destructive and invasive pests, earwigs are highly unlikely to infest your home and won’t cause structural damage if they do.

What Should You Do if You Find Earwigs Indoors?

If you find just one or two of the little insects, it’s likely they got in by accident and want to leave just as much as you want them out. In that case, simply sweep them up and transport them outdoors, where they can continue living their lives in their natural habitat.

You can also take preventative measures to control earwig populations on your property, which will help prevent them from entering your home in the first place. These measures include the following:

  • Rake up leaves when they fall, so they don’t create damp and attractive nesting grounds for earwigs.
  • Remove rotting tree stumps and other decaying plant matter from your property and around your home, again as a way to reduce potentially attractive nesting spots for these and other insects.
  • Make surerainwater is directed away from the house with proper grading, working gutters, French drains and the like.
  • When mulching trees or garden beds, try not to spread mulch right up to the house .

Remember, earwigs are attracted to moist plant matter. The closer they’re able to live to your home, the better able they’ll be to find their way indoors. Keeping moist plant matter away from your home is key in keeping earwigs out of your house and your life—and perhaps most importantly, to minimize the very, very unlikely possibility they will make it into your ears.

Trust ABC As Your Go-To For Pest Removal

If you regularly deal with wandering earwigs inside your home, or if you find so many earwigs that it seems they must have laid eggs or taken up residence inside, you may need to take other measures. If you find yourself in this situation, or if you need help with any other common household pest, call our professionals at ABC Home & Commercial to come assess your situation and come up with a customized plan to resolve the issue.

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