Do Earwigs bite?

Earwigs don’t actually bite, contrary to popular legend. Earwigs get their name from an old superstition saying that the insects crawled into people’s ears at night while they were sleeping, a belief that is now largely discredited. Finding an earwig in the ear would be a freak occurrence.

Modern-day science has also confirmed that the earwigs’ pincers can’t actually pinch and are used exclusively for protecting their offspring from predators and for helping to fold away their wings after they are used. Earwigs don’t bite or attack people, and the amount of damage that they cause to live plants is usually overstated.

While earwig bites are a bit of a misnomer, earwigs are a nuisance in the home and could leave fecal matter when living in large colonies. Earwigs originate outside, although they’re mostly noticed inside houses at nighttime. Popular breeding sites for them include flower beds and vegetable gardens near the base of the home. Its common to find earwigs in gardens, feeding on decaying vegetables and, at times, other insects. They usually won’t harm plants that are growing there.

A residual spray like chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, or diazinon can be used to control the insect inside the house. Insecticides should be labeled specifically for indoor use. Formulations with dust should be used in parts of the home that are dry. Outdoor products should be applied around crawl spaces, foundations, vents, flower beds, and turf within a few yards of the home. For good results, granular insecticide applications should be used in mulched areas and turf grasses. As always, directions should be read and followed before using pesticides.