Ear wigglers or earwigs were named such because people believed that they crawl into a sleeping person’s ears. Fortunately, this is NOT true. These insects are active at night and they live outdoors in compost piles, gardens, and other outdoor areas with a lot of moisture. Although they prefer the outdoors, they can easily find their way into residential homes in the hopes of finding other damp locations.
Aside from its prominent pincers, an adult earwig is characterized by 2 leathery wing pairs, 6 legs, antennae, and a reddish, tan, dark brown, or black body. This odd-looking insect moves relatively quickly – you’ll find it scurrying as soon as you disturb its hideout.
Some earwig species emit a foul liquid in the color of yellow-brown. This emission of liquid is its means of defense. Although the liquid smells bad, it’s not harmful.
By Charles j sharp
via Wikimedia Commons
The Lifecycle of an Earwig
Earwigs have a rather simplified metamorphosis wherein they develop from eggs to nymphs then adults in a matter of 70 days. Right after autumn mating, a female earwig lays 80 whitish eggs on top of damp soil where they’ll be spending the colder season.
Eggs hatch in just a week, and the mother will then protect the nymphs until the second molt. Female earwigs have longer lives, which last for more than a year. As for the males, they die in the early spring or winter as soon as they’ve satisfied their duty to procreate.
Are Earwigs Harmful?
Earwigs pose a great threat to your plants and garden beds as they feed on them. Fortunately, earwigs have no venom. Their defensive pinches don’t even break human skin if you happen to step on them. They are not harmful to pets or people, but they will emit a foul odor if they are squashed or threatened.