What is a Earwig?

There is a superstition that earwigs burrow into the ears of people while they sleep. This is a myth and without any scientific basis. Earwigs frighten many people because of the pincers on the back of their abdomens. Earwigs use these pincers for defense and for sparring with rival earwigs.There are more than 20 species of earwigs in the United States.

What do they look like?

Earwigs are dark, reddish-brown insects which are easily identified by the pincer-like projections on the tip of the abdomen, called forceps. Both males and females have forceps. The most common species in Illinois, the European earwig, is 5/8 of an inch long.

Are Ear Wigs dangerous?

Generally, earwigs are not destructive. They are not poisonous and generally will not bite or sting humans. They may pinch the skin with their forceps. With large numbers, they may feed on tender plants and may damage lettuce, strawberries, dahlias, marigolds, zinnias and roses.

Where will you find Earwigs?

Earwigs prefer moist, dark areas. They are most active at night and seek shelter during day. They are commonly found in mulch, organic debris, cracks and crevices, under flower pots and boards. They frequently enter the house and are often found in the basement or crawlspace. Earwigs feed on living or dead plant material and some insects.


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