Earwigs can be one of the most intimidating creatures you can come across. They have a pair of dangerous-looking pincers attached to the end of their abdomen, which makes them seem threatening. If you find them in your house, it’s natural to wonder, “Are earwigs dangerous?”

And that is exactly what we will be addressing in this article. We will also tackle what you can do to spot infections and possibly prevent them from showing up in the first place.


What is an earwig?

An earwig is an arthropod, which means it has a hard exoskeleton. Its length can be between 6 to 25 mm long. Earwigs have two antennae and have six legs. While they have wings and forewings, they are rarely used, which is why they are called skin wings.

Earwigs are found on all continents except for Antarctica and are nocturnal. They need moisture to survive. Moist crevices are hiding spots for these insects during the day, and they feed on a wide variety of plants and animals during the night.

The pincers on the rear end of the end are used to defend themselves from threats. And while most creatures similar to them are venomous, earwigs are not. However, earwigs can release a yellow liquid if they feel the need to protect themselves, which is not venomous either. It simply gives off a foul smell that allows the insect to protect itself.

But why are earwigs called earwigs? These insects are known to crawl inside the ears of human beings and lay their eggs in the brain. However, this is not true and is simply a fantasy to instill fear.


Are earwigs dangerous?

It’s not a surprise if you consider earwigs dangerous, but thankfully, they are not.

Do they bite? No, they also don’t.

However, earwigs only pinch but do not bite. Their grip is not that painful either, and you might not even notice. They don’t have any harmful substances inside their body which makes them less of a threat. In pets like dogs or cats, earwigs can pinch them for a while, but pets wouldn’t notice them since they are not painful. Even if your pets eat these insects, there isn’t any problem since they are not poisonous.


Earwig on a plant


Earwigs and plants

While earwigs are not damaging to humans and pets, they are bad news for your garden. These pests feed on garden flowers and hostas, as well as some garden vegetables. Since these insects rely on moisture for survival, they can be found in any dark and moist place.

Rotting wood, especially where mold has accumulated due to a lot of moisture, is one of the most common places for them to hide. Tender shoots of plants are susceptible to damage, especially if hordes of such insects are found.

But, while they are damaging to some plants, they also protect them to some extent.

What do earwigs eat?

Other pests like aphids and mites are prey for earwigs, and they help get rid of other pests that could be harmful to you and your pets. Dead leaves are also food for these bugs since several species are omnivorous.


Spotting infestations at home

It is difficult to spot an earwig infection at home unless a big number of these bugs infest your property. But if you are attentive, you can spot early signs of such Infestations to prevent any worsening of the situation.

Here are some signs that you should look out for to spot infestations at home:

  • Foul smell: Since earwigs release a foul liquid when they are under threat, a number of them will give off a foul odor in your house.
  • Check moist and unused rooms: Dark and moist places are the typical habitats for earwigs, and checking damp or uninhabited rooms is a good idea to spot an early infestation.
  • Use night lights: Like moths, earwigs are attracted to bright lights. So, you should consider using dim lights if you suspect an infestation.
  • Dead leaves or mold: Dead leaves, mold, and moist soil is habitat for them. If you have these around your house, there might be an earwig Infestation.


How to prevent earwig infestation?

Now that you know the different signs to look out for in the case of earwig Infestation, here are some steps you can take to prevent them:

  • Use a dehumidifier to get rid of excess moisture so that the insects don’t find a habitable environment near or in your place.
  • Fix drains or pipes surrounding your house, so that excess water doesn’t leak into the soil and isn’t exposed to earwigs.
  • Clear any decaying piles of leaves or rotting wood from your premises so that they don’t have a proper food source to live on.


In conclusion

In this article, we’ve learned what earwigs are and whether or not they are dangerous. We also discussed what they eat and where they are mainly found. With all this information, it is easier for you to spot, deal with, and prevent infestations.

If you spot the signs, make sure you contact professionals to deal with the problem and get rid of the pests for good.