Earwigs and ears?

The myth of earwigs crawling into ears has been around for centuries.  It was believed that earwigs crawled into human’s ears and laid their eggs, causing extreme pain and sometimes death.

This myth is false.  Modern reports do exist involving people finding an earwig in the ear.  However, these are freak incidents.  Earwigs do not actively seek out people’s ears to lay eggs.  Spiders, flies, and other insects find their way into people’s ears at the same rate as earwigs, if not higher.

Earwigs prefer dark, damp, cool places.  A human ear is far too warm to be a preferred area for earwigs.  In the rare case an earwig finds it’s way into an ear, it won’t be able to go very far.  Certain bones and the tympanic membrane quickly stop all forward movement.  This can still cause a lot of stress to a person, and in some cases, pain.  However, rest assured that earwigs are not consciously seeking their way into your ear.

There is still speculation as from where the name “earwig” originated.  It could have come from the myth, the fact that crushed earwigs were used for medicinal purposes in treating the ear, or because earwigs infested ears of corn.  Regardless of the name’s origin, earwigs do not pose any direct physical harm to humans.  They do not lay eggs in people’s ears, and their pincers are too weak to cause any damage to human skin.  Finding an earwig in your ear would definitely be a rare freak occurrence.