Earwigs: Are They as Bad as They Sound?

Earwigs: Are They as Bad as They Sound?

Most bugs have creepy sounding names, but the thought of “earwig” seems especially bad. And personally invasive—as though the name itself is a threat.

Luckily, it’s basically an empty threat. Earwigs are harmless to humans. Bites normally won’t penetrate the skin and do not contain venom.

Yes, the name does literally mean “ear creature,” but they don’t typically crawl into human ears. Phew!

What do earwigs look like?

Although their name (thankfully) isn’t accurate, earwigs can still seem pretty scary. A close-up picture is definitely a hair-raising sight.

Adult earwig bodies are generally around three quarters of an inch long- about the length of your thumbnail. Interestingly, they’re also equipped with wings they barely use. Instead flying around freely, they idly freeload rides on anything in motion—from your car to your shoe.


Are earwigs dangerous?

Did you see the pinchers? Shiver!

Those pinchers, or cerci as they’re called, nab prey and fend off predators. Earwigs can bite humans, but they usually save the cerci to guard against fellow insects.

Actually, because the cerci are so small, bites to humans normally won’t even penetrate the skin. Even better, earwigs have no venom—meaning bites cause no lasting irritation. Because earwigs live in the ground, however, they may still carry allergens or germs that can cause reactions or infections such as salmonella or E. coli. If you feel a bite, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly clean it!

junk outside

Where do earwigs hide in my yard?

Like most insects, earwigs are nocturnal. And similarly to bacteria and mold, they prefer to feed in dark, cool, moist places (cringe). Definitely limit the moisture around your yard and particularly around your home’s entry points.

Staying true to characteristic laziness, earwigs unsurprisingly feast on ground level plants and fruits. Keeping your yard clear of plants like ivy, leaves, and excess soft fruit should help control earwig activity.

If that doesn’t work, consider setting a trap.

Fill a low can with a bit of oil and bacon grease. Leave the can outside to immobilize earwigs in the oil. Hilariously, it works better if you bury the can–rim flush with the ground. Earwigs don’t like exerting extra effort to scale the outside of the can.

Yeah, earwigs are that lazy.


Can earwigs damage my home?

Damage to vegetation and possible infection are minute compared to an indoor earwig infestation. Hopefully, previous efforts did the trick and they stay far from the borders of your house.


Once these mini-monsters freeload their way inside your home, they can spread everywhere. The summer months can bring an even worse plague, as warm weather quickly drives earwigs and their newly hatched young into your home. Your bedding, furniture, and walls are perfect vacation spots for the critters.

Their favorite place, however, will be your pantry.

Earwigs commonly eat garbage, which means they also walk all over it. When earwigs wiggle their way into your food, they bring with them all the germs and filth left on their bodies. If earwigs get into your food, the activity escalates from disgusting disrupt to straight-up thievery. You certainly don’t deserve this level of disrespect from some lowly insect.

couple relaxing on a couch

How do I get rid of earwigs?

Even under a full-blown earwig siege, the pests can be defeated. The goal, as always, is to regain control of your home.

Here’s where we come in.

We examine your property and determine the best custom treatment plan for you and your home. Depending on the season, it may take a couple services. But, armed with expertise and the right products, we’ll get the job done!

If you’re concerned about an earwig issue, give us a call.


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