earwig on the ground

What Are Earwigs And Are They Dangerous?

What are earwigs?

There are millions of insects in the world, and collectively they outnumber humans. This sobering fact makes almost any bug a formidable foe when it ventures into your home. From cockroaches to ants, there’s always a bug that’s curious about the interior. You might be concerned about earwigs and their potential for harm around your property. Although these insects aren’t very attractive, they’re thoroughly misunderstood. Read through this comprehensive guide on the earwig, and you’ll feel calmer the next time one passes you by.

Basic Anatomy

Before you get concerned about an insect in or around your home, try to pinpoint its species. An earwig has a three-section body with a head, abdomen and tail section. The head has two antennae that feel out the terrain ahead of the insect. Across the abdomen, you’ll notice two wings that can spread out relatively far. The tail section, however, is where you’ll notice the most distinct part of the earwig. Two pincers stretch out from the rear, which gives this insect its formidable appearance. It’s important to remember that there are nearly two-dozen species of earwig in the continental United States, so appearances might vary. They won’t grow larger than one inch in most cases.

Nighttime and Ear Myths

It’s true that earwigs prefer the nighttime to forage for food. Because of their small size, they use the cover of darkness to eat decaying plant matter and other insects. The term “earwig” gave rise to a myth that these insects preferred human ears as areas for egg-laying processes. You can rest easy tonight because this concept isn’t true. They do prefer dark and moist areas, but that’s during the day when they’re trying to hide from predators. An earwig won’t seek out human ears for their needs. However, they might be drawn to a lit area where residents reside. You’ll simply need to be diligent about keeping doors and windows screened off or closed to prevent these bugs from venturing indoors.

Natural Predators

Earwig insects aren’t dangerous in the conventional sense to humans. In fact, most areas have a moderate amount of these bugs because natural predators keep their numbers at bay. Although arachnids aren’t the most welcome creatures in the garden, they’re actually predators to most insects that you don’t want anyway. The brown recluse spider, in particular, will eat an earwig along with other pests. Simply allow the spider to do its job. As long as the brown recluse spider remains outdoors, your entire family should be safe from any encounters. Other natural predators include toads and birds.

Lack of Venom

Because of the frightening anatomy of the earwig, many people automatically assume that they’re dangerous and venomous. Every earwig variation, however, has no form of venom. They’re actually plant-eating insects, which is one of the reasons why they aren’t venomous. An earwig doesn’t have to sting its prey because leaves and other debris don’t put up a fight. They have tiny mandibles with which they cut and pull foliage from the garden. You might consider an earwig a danger if you’re trying to germinate and grow plants from seeds. Those fresh seedlings are perfectly suited for an earwig’s diet.

Pincer Concerns

The only potentially dangerous part of an earwig is the pincers. This feature is one of the most dominant body parts because two pincers jut out from the rear end. They’re not used for offensive movements, however. These insects merely use them for defense against predators and competing with rivals. If you see an earwig, simply keep your fingers away from the pincers. They can grasp onto skin and clothing just as an automatic response to a threat. If you find yourself injured by the pincers, it’s only a cut. Simply wash it out with a mild soap and water. You only have to worry about basic germs and not venom with a pincer injury.

Preventing Insects From Traveling Indoors

To keep these insects in their natural habitat, clear out any organic material from around the home’s foundation. An earwig will only enter the home out of convenience when decaying material is nearby. Stones and other stacked items should also be removed from the home’s perimeter. These insects also love moisture so keep your landscape dry with proper drainage channels. Water the lawn and garden in the morning so that any moisture can evaporate by the time night arrives. Any earwig will avoid a dry area. They’ll simply look for another space to forage, reproduce and hide.

Signs of Infestation

Unlike other pests, these insects don’t leave a trail of debris. When an infestation is in place, you’ll actually see the insects roaming around where moisture is most plentiful. Basements, bathrooms, kitchens and other areas with possible standing water are perfect areas for an earwig infestation. Repair any leaks, and wipe up puddles. These insects also seek out white lights in both the interior and exterior spaces. Consider different light bulbs around the exterior of the home so that no insects want to enter the structure in the first place. Yellow lights aren’t that attractive to the earwig species. When there’s no good place for an earwig infestation to harbor, they’ll seek out other accommodations.

Professional Removal

It’s possible to buy insecticide for your earwig infestation, but many of these products just aren’t effective on them. Professional exterminators can perform this service for you. They’ll need to survey the home for the most concentrated population. In many cases, the insects might be hiding in crevices, such as between walls and floors. Exterminators may spray the area, or suggest other alterations. The extermination process may take several sessions in order to stop the earwig reproduction cycle. Nymphs and adults might be present at the property. Both age groups must be eradicated or else the infestation will continue to grow.

If you’re concerned about any insect roaming around your property, always contact the professionals for a consultation. The majority of insects are completely harmless when they remain outside. With some knowledge about a particular insect, you’ll feel better about dealing with them as the seasons change.

Non Toxic Spray

Non-Toxic Spray


This non-toxic spray kills larvae, eggs, and adult insects by breaking down their exoskeleton. It is safe to spray around the home and works only on the insects. Feel good about spraying indoors around pets, plants and children.
All Natural Non Toxic Insect Killer Spray by Killer Green