About Earwigs | 17 Interesting Facts about Earwigs

What are earwigs?

The word ‘earwig’ was derived from the words ‘ēare’ meaning ear and ‘wicga’ meaning insects, and are also known as Pincer Bugs. They belong to Dermaptera species and are scientifically known as Forficula Auricularis.

Earwigs are usually harmless for humans and if we are talking about them entering in human ears then any small insect can easily enter your ears.   

Earwigs belong to the Arthropod phylum and they are about 0.25 to 1 inch long. They are reddish and brown in color and they have two cerci on their back, they also have wings to fly.

The fun fact about earwigs is that their wings are hidden but when they need to fly, they can expand their wings 10 times bigger. Earwigs don’t always like to fly because they are not good at it; they only fly for searching for their mate or food.

Superstitions about Earwigs

There are various superstitions associated with earwigs, mainly due to its name. According to the old wives’ tale, earwigs crawl into the human brains at night through their ears and lay their eggs.

Earwigs are not known to crawl inside ear canals but are frequently found near the ears.

Are Earwigs harmful?

Earwigs damage crops and plants by feeding on their leaves and making holes. They cause maximum damage during the rainy season as they seek shelter from rain and move towards various trees and plants, irrespective of them being healthy or decomposed.

If they increase in number indoors, especially during the summer season, they might start attacking your storage spaces and feed on food items such as bread and cookies

17 Facts to Know About Earwigs

1. Where do Earwigs live?

They prefer damp and dark areas such as sidewalks, stones, and basements. It is rare for them to be attracted to lights as, during the daytime, they mostly stay inside organic materials like pine, straw, and leaf litter.

They are seen frequently near sowbugs, millipedes, doors, and windows as they try to feed on plants and vegetables kept near them.

2. What do Earwigs eat?

Earwigs are night-feeding insects that feed on crops, especially corn, potato, lettuce, rose, silk and, butterfly bushes. They can also damage seedlings as they feast on flowers and newly ripened fruits.

Since they feed at night, they also act as scavengers on decaying organic substances, and as predators for insect larvae, aphids, and many other bugs.

3. How far do earwigs travel?

Earwigs don’t travel much; in fact, they can spend most of their life in one place, only if they get proper food and shelter. Earwigs are very lazy to fly that’s why, they only crawl from one place to another but they are also considered hitchhikers because they hide in daily use things that help them travel from one place to another via newspapers, luggage, or any other things.

4. How earwigs get in your house? 

Earwigs are so small that they can enter through wall cracks or any crack inside your house or they can enter directly through open windows. Earwigs are outdoor pests but sometimes they enter into your house along with outdoor things, for example, if you have a small plant outside your house and you brought it inside, then there is a slight possibility that earwigs can also come along with that plant.

5. How earwigs get their name?

The term earwigs are obtained from the word “eare” which means ear and “wicga” which means insects and together it makes “ear insects”. Many researchers claim that earwigs have wing that shaped like human ears and that’s why these insects are called earwigs. Due to their name, people believe that earwigs can crawl into the human ear and live in your brain, that is why it is named as earwigs, but this is not true.

6. How earwigs move?

Earwigs generally crawl very fast, although they have big wings, they don’t use them more often. They use their legs to run, in fact, they are considered fast runners because of their light weighted body. Earwigs are also known as hitchhiking insects that means they transport from one place to another via bags, boxes, or any other things. 

7. What earwigs eat?

Earwigs are mostly omnivores; they take their food from dead and decayed plants but in the absence of dead plants they can eat fresh ripe fruits also. They constantly search for dead small insects; in fact, their forceps are for insect hunting only. Earwigs can also be found on flowers and buds because they also eat fresh flowers if dead plants or animals are not available in their habitat.

8. What earwigs hate?

Earwigs hate the smell of some oils like cinnamon oil, peppermint, clove, etc. Tachinid fly is also hated by earwigs because these flies are the prime predators of earwigs. Borax is also very unlikeable by earwigs and the prime enemy of earwigs is “cold” and “dry”, they cannot survive in a dry environment or cold environment, they need a humid and moist environment to live in.

9. What earwigs crawl into ears?

No specific species of earwigs crawl into human ears, it’s totally a myth that earwigs go intentionally enters the human ear and take their food from your brain and they lay eggs in your ears but that is not true. In fact, earwigs are normal insects and any normal insect can easily go into your ear, sometimes earwigs do enter in human ear unintentionally like any other insect.

10. When do earwigs come out?

Earwigs are outdoor insects, they come outside their nests during the fall season because fall is the season of their mating, and you may find many earwigs in the fall season outside your house or near trees and ponds. In the winter season these earwigs tend to move towards your house for shelter and that’s the reason for their arrival into your rooms or even on your beds. Earwigs also get active during the night like most insects because nights are more humid and suitable as compared to days.

11. When do earwigs fly?

Earwig flies only in the search of food or their mates, they have big wings to fly but they don’t use them more often. Earwig only flies when there is a chance of mating or they want some food and shelter, they fly for a very short time period. Unlike other flies, they cannot fly for more than a few seconds.

12. When do earwigs hibernate?

The season of hibernation for earwigs is winter season, they cannot survive the winter season and mostly they hibernate into your home. An earwig can dig up to 6 feet under the ground to hibernate, they lay eggs in the winter season, and hence they need to protect them from the cold season.

13. Where do earwigs come from?

Earwigs originally came from North America, but now they are the most abundant. But In day to day life, they come into your house through wall cracks or even along with the newspaper and books that you have brought recently or any other thing that you recently brought in your house. They come into your house from a heap of garbage or any moist and damp place near your house for their survival in the winter season.

14. What attracts earwigs?

Earwigs get attracted towards the light but mainly the warmth of your house attracts them to come and seek shelter in your house. Like many other insects, earwigs are also scavenger that means they depend upon dead and decayed plants. Many earwigs get attracted towards the source of food in your house, and they stay for many days in your house.

15. What are Earwigs good for?

Earwigs protect our garden from plant harming pests like aphids and they also eat other nuisances like nematodes, mites, and other insect’s larvae. Earwigs also help in making manure and fertilizers, if you use them in a proper manner then they can help you in many ways but when they don’t get any dead plants, they start eating fresh plants for their survival.

16. Where are earwigs found?

Earwigs can be found under the rock, log of wood, or near the roots of dead plants. Earwigs need dead organic matter for survival and they also need a dark and damp surrounding to live in that’s why they are found near the lake and pond or near the heap of garbage.

17. Which birds eat earwigs?

Nuthatches and chickadees eat earwigs; many people call these “bug-eating” birds to protect their garden from pests. But birds can also be dangerous to plants because birds can also eat seedlings.


From this article, the claim that we can make is that earwigs don’t enter in human ear intentionally and there are some benefits of earwigs but mainly they are nothing but a nuisance and one should definitely get rid of them, as soon as possible, although they are not permanent members in your house because in the fall season, they goes outside but in winters they come to your house to seek shelter. Earwigs are generally not venomous but they look dangerous because of their forceps. If you’re facing earwig’s infestation then you should definitely seek help from pest control.