Answering Scottsdale, AZ Homeowner's Most Common Earwig Questions

5/17/2021

Here in Scottsdale, AZ (and pretty much everywhere else), there’s a lot of misinformation floating around about the earwig. They’re pretty horrible looking, if we’re being flat honest, so it’s not surprising there are some nasty rumors about them. Fortunately, these creepy crawlies aren’t actually dangerous – they just look big and bad. Let’s discuss some of the bad information swirling around about earwigs and answer some of your most burning questions about pest control in Scottsdale and how to get rid of earwigs in your home. 

an earwig on a leaf

What Do Earwigs Look Like?

Earwigs make up the insect order Dermaptera, and this order consists of about 2,000 species.  These insects are generally flat with an elongated body, short and rarely utilized wings, and medium to a long antenna.

What really distinguishes the earwig is the long set of pincers attached to the back of its abdomen. Males have larger pincers than females, and they use these forceps for fending off predators, catching prey, and fighting for territory and mates.

Depending on the species, earwigs can be anywhere from a mere half-inch to over two inches long. In fact, the now-extinct St. Helena giant earwig clocked in at nearly three and a half inches. 

What Do Earwigs Do In Your Ear?

It’s a common misconception that earwigs like to crawl into sleeping humans’ ears to lay eggs or even bore into their brains to eat them. This idea is completely false. Earwigs are no more or less likely to get into your ear than any other insect, even if this myth is so ingrained that earwigs literally get their name from it. 

Earwigs don’t eat brains – they feed mostly on decaying vegetation like rotting leaf piles or mulch. However, since earwigs are omnivores, if they get the opportunity to snare an insect in their forceps, they’ll take it. Earwigs commonly prey upon sowbugs, aphids, mites, and whatever species of insect egg they can find. This means a couple of earwigs hanging around could actually be good for your garden and your home. It’s pretty hard for other insects to breed with predators sneaking around scavenging their eggs. 

Are Earwigs Dangerous?

In a word: no. Earwigs don’t have any venom, so they can’t sting or bite. And while their pincers might look intimidating, earwigs don’t have the strength to back them up. That means even if they do pinch you, their pinch is unlikely to break the skin. It may not even hurt.

What Attracts Earwigs Into Your House?

Earwigs love two things – warmth and moisture. While we’ve got plenty of the former here in Arizona, it’s often hard for these insects to access the latter. That means earwigs will come into your home seeking water for most of the year, and they might also enter seeking warmth during a cold snap. If you have an earwig infestation, don’t be surprised to find they crawl into bed with you seeking to take advantage of your body heat.

How Do You Kill Earwigs?

While a couple of earwigs wandering around your garden can help control the aphids and mites infesting your plants, you definitely don’t want these icky bugs crawling all over your house in huge numbers. Unfortunately, earwigs are good at hiding in places humans can’t easily access. That makes it hard to get rid of an infestation once it’s established. Luckily, help is just a click or call away.

Here at Green Home Pest Control, we’ve helped over 10,000 residents deal with their pest problems in their Pheonix homes in a safe and eco-friendly way. We have over 30 years of experience treating pests endemic to our area, and we can help you deal with whatever pest is ailing you – earwig or otherwise! So give us a call at (602) 671-0101 or visit our Green Home Pest Control “get started page” to schedule your service today.

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