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Earwigs...Do they really crawl in your ear?

I have a fear of earwigs!! When I was young someone told me that earwigs crawl in your ears to lay eggs and walk around in your brain. 1st off I would like to know what kind of person would tell a small child this and 2nd why can’t I get over the fear. Earwigs received their name due to a false belief that they occupy ears and lay eggs inside the human brain. Even though they could enter the ears, they prefer to stay away from them due to the lack of food and moisture. In my profession, I understand that they are harmless but I still have a deep set fear of them getting into my ears. Earwigs seem to be everywhere this time of year so I find it fitting to share some facts about earwigs.

  1. Earwigs are insects that can reach .5 to 3 inches in length. They have a long, narrow body with 3 pairs of legs. They have a pair of antennas on the head and pinchers on the rear end of the body that they use in capturing prey and as a weapon. The female’s pinchers are straight and the males are curved.

  2. Earwigs are harmless (I struggle with this) for humans. They don’t transmit diseases and don’t have a painful sting.

  3. They are nocturnal creatures (only active during the night). They hide during the day inside hollow trees, or under rocks, leaves, bark and debris.

  4. Earwigs like to eat leaves, fruit, mold, flowers and insects. They consume both fresh and dead plant material.

  5. They live in large groups. To find each other they secrete pheromones and they also produce and release a stinky substance to repel predators.

  6. Birds, lizards, frogs, centipedes, spiders and insectivorous mammals are natural enemies to earwigs.

  7. Females lay 3-50 eggs that hatch after 7 days. Larva (nymph) emerges from the egg and undergoes 4-6 molting sessions before it finally reaches adulthood. This process usually lasts 30 days. Their mating season takes place in the fall. Unlike other insects, the female earwig take care of their offspring until the second molting.

  8. Earwigs can survive up to one year in the wild

Earwigs inhabit dark, wet areas that provide shelter and food. They can be found in fields, forests, gardens, backyards and homes. They can easily enter buildings through the holes in the walls and occupy kitchens, bathrooms, garages and basements. They can product minor damage to vegetation, agricultural fields and orchards.

You can help reduce their hiding places by cleaning up leaves, grass clippings and debris from around your home. They tend to also love hiding under rocks. I want to apologize for sharing my fear with you and am asking you NOT to ever tell a small child that earwigs lay eggs and walk around in your brain. Call Xtreme Weed & Pest Solutions in our Western Montana office or Billings office and we can help you out with the invasion of earwigs.

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