Table of Contents
- 1 WHAT ARE EARWIGS?
- 2 DO EARWIGS BITE PEOPLE?
- 3 SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT EARWIGS?
- 4 GET HELP FROM THE FRIENDLY EXPERTS
- 5 SOURCES
- 6 AUTHOR BIO
Seeing earwigs (order Dermaptera) skitter by with their pincers out can spook anyone, but are they really dangerous? Will they bite you, and should you be worried about them?
Unlike the tales of old, earwigs aren’t as dangerous as they may seem. They don’t crawl into your ears or bite. That being said, they can injure you with their pincers if they feel threatened. Some species have a liquid they can release, too, which smells foul and can irritate the skin.
WHAT ARE EARWIGS?
Earwigs are brown insects that are most recognizable because of the pincers (cerci) on their tail end. These bugs are oval-shaped and have ridged bodies. Males have rounded cerci, while females have straighter cerci that may overlap.
There is no single description of an earwig that will be true for every earwig you encounter since there are over 20 species in the United States, but most of them are dark brown and no longer than one inch. They have two antennae and six legs. Some species can fly, but many do not.
Here’s help in identifying if an insect is an earwig:
WHAT COLOR ARE EARWIGS?
Earwigs are normally brown. They can have a pale brown appearance or have reddish-brown or black bodies.
HOW BIG ARE EARWIGS?
Earwigs range in size. Some are as small as a quarter-inch, while others are up to an inch long.
WHERE DO EARWIGS LIVE?
An earwig’s habitat is the outdoors, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come inside. They enjoy living in lawn debris, tree holes, and mulch. They’ll also come into your home through exterior cracks and look for moist, damp, rotting areas. Some will live in plants, which is why you may find them when shucking corn.
In the winter, earwigs normally burrow into the ground. Females lay their eggs there and won’t emerge until the spring. They may come inside as it gets cold since they’re attracted to light.
WHAT DO EARWIGS EAT?
Earwigs eat decaying plant matter. They’ll eat other insects as well.
DO EARWIGS HAVE WINGS?
Interestingly, earwigs do have wings. They have two sets of wings. The hind wings are found under the front wings and look leathery.
While earwigs have wings, the reality is that most can’t fly very far. Some species don’t fly at all.
DO EARWIGS BITE PEOPLE?
Contrary to popular belief, earwigs don’t bite. They normally don’t damage property or injure people in any way. However, there are exceptions to the rule.
For example, earwigs can damage or kill seedlings, and they can pinch you with their pincers if they’re feeling threatened. If an earwig releases a foul-smelling substance from its abdomen, there is a potential for an allergic reaction.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU TOUCH AN EARWIG?
- Anyone who comes into contact with an earwig should wash their hands and seek medical care if they have an allergic reaction.
- If you’re pinched, make sure you wash your hands—if you notice persistent redness or an infection, talk to your doctor.
SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT EARWIGS?
While earwigs won’t normally damage your home, finding them inside could be a sign that there is a problem. You may have a leak, for example, that is creating moisture that draws them in. You may also have openings or cracks in your home that you need to address.
You can discourage earwigs from coming inside by:
- Sealing cracks.
- Using window and door screens.
- Swapping out your exterior lights for colors that are less likely to attract insects.
- Using curtains or blinds to minimize light coming from inside at night.
- Cutting down on moisture inside your home.
After you do this, use your vacuum or a broom to sweep up any earwigs you’ve found inside and remove them.
If you’re finding earwigs inside, take steps to seal any places where they might be coming in, like obvious gaps or cracks around windows or doors. If you can’t seem to keep them out, contact our pest experts to chat about your options for getting rid of them.
GET HELP FROM THE FRIENDLY EXPERTS
We know that finding earwigs infesting your home is the last thing you want to discover. Fortunately, there are ways to help get these pesty insects back outside and out of your home. Call us today at Joshua’s Pest Control for help.
Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!