Earwigs get their name from the widespread superstition that these bugs crawl into people’s ears while they sleep.1 Fortunately, this is just a myth and earwigs are considered to be generally harmless to people. Nonetheless, these scary-looking pincher bugs can be a nuisance when found indoors. Find out more about these creatures and learn how to help get rid of earwigs.
Earwigs are sometimes called “pincher bugs” because they have forcep-like pinchers.
Earwigs are most active at night and can move very fast.
They are often transported great distances in potted plants, nursery stock, other plant material, or firewood.
Earwigs do not bite. However, if they are picked up or feel threatened, they will use their forceps to give a slight pinch.
Earwigs usually find shelter beneath stones, boards, debris, heavily thatched lawns, or in mulched flowerbeds.
Earwigs come inside looking for food or a more suitable environment to hide.
They are scavengers, feeding on dead animal and plant material. Some species will also feed on living plants.
Earwigs will not damage the home or infest food supplies, but they can be a nuisance when found in the home.
Some pincher bugs will damage flowers and various crops.
Their forcep-like tail makes earwigs look dangerous and can be frightening to some people when found indoors.1 However, these scary-looking bugs are not dangerous to humans.
When disturbed or crushed, earwigs can emit a foul-smelling, yellowish-brown liquid from their sweat glands.1
Keep compost piles and decaying vegetation away from the house.
Caulk windows and any foundation cracks to help keep earwigs from entering your home.
If you notice earwigs in your house or basement, try running a dehumidifier to make the areas less humid, and therefore less appealing to these bugs.