earwig

Earwigs Facts

in Nature Facts by

Earwigs (Order Dermaptera) are small bugs that got their name from the myth that they climb into people’s ears and therein lay their eggs or tunnel into the brain. Our site visitors reported that earwigs do climb into ears, but we believe that it mostly to hide from cold, since earwigs usually tunnel 6 feet under the ground to hide from cold weather. Earwigs also have two penises! Both are larger than it’s body and if it needs the second one just in case one of them snaps off! “It’s an interesting phenomenon,” says Mike Siva-Jothy of the University of Sheffield, UK. He thinks there must be some evolutionary advantage to the earwig’s “unusually long” and fragile organs.

47 Comments

  1. Earwigs DO climb into people’s ears!!!! I don’t know about laying eggs or burrowing though. My step-son woke up screaming one night because something was making noise in his ear. An earwig came crawling out. NOT A MYTH!!!!

  2. Just because one earwig crawled into your step-son’s ear does not mean all of them are addicted to ears. One lark doesn’t make spring 😉

    When I was very young I was afraid of earwigs ’cause I believed that they will dig into my head.

  3. offensive part removed
    lol i got goosebumps just thinking about earwigs climbimg into my ears and laying their disgusting eggs in there. I mean comme on thats gross and sorta frightning right?

  4. i’m a garbageman, earwigs like to hide in the rims of garbage cans, when i take the lids off the cans, about a dozen earwigs fall into the can, they also hide under the cans, i have a beard and long hair, so i’m always wondering if earwigs are falling into my hair…today i found an earwig in my hair, but none in my beard so far, just a small grey spider. i was never bothered by the idea of earwigs but several people i know are afraid of them, i’ve had them crawling on my arms and hands from the garbage before, i think they are just trying to find a new place to hide, its kind of amusing to see them scurry around on the sidewalk with the crickets and spiders when i move the can, they’re suddenly so exposed.

    that is all.

  5. onetime i woke up and without me even controlling my arm snapped up to my ear and grabbed an earwig that about got into my ear so hey avram thers two incidents for ya

  6. Fifteen or twenty years ago, I woke with a buzzing in my ear, went into the bathroom, began to fiddle with my finger – then a Q-tip. A giant earwig crawled out!!! I FREAKED!!!!!!!!!!! The worst part was that there was no information available at that time, and I thought they had to be known as EARWIGS for some reason. I called my doctor and spoke to our pharmacist. Neither could offer any help. With visions of thousands of them hatching in my head in the following weeks, I did buy the strongest ear-cleansing products that could be purchased over the counter, and flushed my ear for a couple of days. I still shudder when I think of it, but I’m still here, and my brain still works.

  7. okay its 3:16 am. i jut woke up cuz what i thought was water in my ear was in fact an earwig. sorry i don’t have the best spelling but, after i found the guy i put him in a glass and cleaned out my ears with some q-tips hardcore. my ear does in fact have a nick somewhere and i do have blood in my ear. i sleep downstairs on a blow up mattress because there are no other available beds. about a year ago i was sleeping on my brothers old bed and woke up to an earwig crawling across my face. i then screamed my head of and cried for so long. wtf am i supposed to do now? my mom just told me to sleep upstairs and it will go away. but i don’t know. anybody wanna help me out? im a freaking pregnant teen that absolutely hates bugs and crap like this is always happening to me. its a good thing i hadn’t cleaned my ears or a while. the only protection i had was my earwax.

  8. I’m terrified of earwigs, spiders, centipedes, ect… Or at least the thought of one touching me. I’m trying to study spiders and earwigs and other bugs to get over my fear. And I may have trouble sleeping tonight, cuz it’s bedtime soon… Damn Shino…

  9. ok wtf??? am i the only person in the world that when read the info at the top went holy ****… 2 ****s???? and there the size of his body??? then wtf does a girl earwig look like!?!

  10. It is 2:42am and I am freaking out, I just felt sone tickling in my ear and a weird buzzing, so i started sticking my finger in my ear and it would stop, then i put some eardrops in and an earwig literally just fell out of my ear!!! And I’m scared there are more inside me

  11. I know someone who told me of his friend that worked out in the fields all day long. His friend had a bad pain in his ear. He could feel something moving around in his ear & tried using q-tips to fix the problem but got nothing out of his ear, which made him think he might be hallucinating! SO he decided to go to the doctor. The doctor poured hot oil into his ear & somewhere around 6 or 7 earwigs came crawling out(there were so many because they were the eggs that had hatched). Pretty disgusting if you ask me, but if you have the problem try using hot oil (not sure what kind of oil; you’d have to look it up)!

  12. This is no myth… earwig traps are commonly made of smelly oils, it only serves to reason that they are actually attracted to the scent of the ear wax, not to mention a nice dark canal, and if you are working in an area with lots of peat, an earwig in the ear is not so uncommon! Happened to me on wednesday… that thing crawled up me and went RIGHT for the ear, so it is no urban legend. Old wives tales and home remedies often prove true when scientifically tested generations later. As for crawling in your brain and eating, yes I am satisfied there is a barrier, but when a bug crawls in your ear they are flapping and buzzing, and it does make you a little crazy. I was in such distress on the drive to the walk-in clinic because the thing kept burrowing deeper and biting, or something that caused pain. Once at the clinic, i was feeling ok for a little while but then actually leapt out of my chair screaming ‘it’s starting to burrow again, aggghhhh!’
    And yes they do burrow and deep. They looked in my ear with a scope and saw nothing so it was already past the end of where you can see with the scope. The nurse put lydocaine in there and I felt instant relief. No more burrowing, flipping, biting. They flushied the ear and it came out far enough for her to grab it with the tweezers then.
    Do i feel better now? No, not after obsessing there may be eggs, these eggs are small, not something that could get totally cleaned out with an ear flush like a ****roach egg sack would. I read the hatch time is between 2-3 months so i will not feel safe from hatchlings till around halloween 2010 now. I can’t sleep now, because at night I hear gurgling noises in that ear and have convinced myself there are eggs.
    I am looking into putting insecticide washes in my ear until then.
    So … it didn’t burrow into my brain and make me crazy, but I believe the ‘old wives tale’ should stand, uncontested, as I really believe i am going insane!

  13. More testimony here. I have 3 ear wig stories. The first one I just got my finger pinched by one quite hard drawing blood when I was lifting a hanging flower pot – the earwig was hiding in the tube wrapped around the hanger. Some friends don’t believe me because they say that earwigs don’t bite – bite, pinch, whatever – it did.

    The second story was at a really nice restaurant. I took my first sip of a gin & tonic. I felt something in my mouth, but at first thought is was a piece of lime that was stale/hard. Just as I was going to get it off my tongue I was pinched on my tongue – and there it was – a frigin’ earwig – drew blood too. UGGGGHHHH!!!

    The third story happened to my husband last night – that’s why I’m on this site – looking for info. He wakes me up at 5am in a panic saying something is crawling in his ear. I look in his ear in the bathroom lighting – I couldn’t see a thing. He is going crazy -I’m wondering if he really is. I can’t imagine how freaky that must feel. He gets on his knees on the bathroom floor holding his head – he turned it sideways and an earwig crawled out and fell to the floor. He is wigged out to say the least. It was a female earwig, so now I’m concerned about what a few of you are saying about eggs. This is so creapy – it’s going to be so hard getting to sleep at night knowing a friggin’ bug can crawl in your ear. It’s pissing me off that some of the sights say it’s a myth – definately not a myth!!!

  14. i once woke up feelin something rustlin bout in my hair when i was eight years old..lo an behold it was an earwig.durin the panic of findin such a wretched horrible creature in me hair, i fell outa the bed which was a bunk bed and hurt me sen somewhat…cant stand the horrible lil bastards…

  15. brett wrote: #
    i once woke up feelin something rustling bout in my hair when i was eight years old..lo an behold it was an earwig.durin the panic of findin such a wretched horrible creature in me hair, i fell outa the bed which was a bunk bed and hurt me sen somewhat…cant stand the horrible lil bastards…

    It is interesting how many earwig confessions we have here. Keep them coming boys…and girls :)

  16. I was watching animal planet and it said earwigs dont crawl into people ears. i think this is all a myth.but it does pinch. it kinda looks a little scary. first time i saw it i thought it was a baby scropion.

  17. ok i have a true fear of electric toothbrushes now!! the last 2 times i used one i got an earwig in my mouth!! it was inside the head of the brush!!! after the second time, i didnt brush my teeth for 3 weeks! im only 11 and im soooo freaked out to brush my teeth. that cant be good!

  18. Earwigs have always freaked me out since I was a kid, I watched some movie where they put these huge earwig type things into people space helmets, and they crawled into people ears and done soemthing to there brain. I was about 5 so I really can’t remember much of it!

    Now I’ve read these stories I shall not be sleeping again, ever.

  19. These things are super loud when they’re buzzing in your ear too. I had one get in my ear when I was little, and playing vedio games at my friends house. It was soo freekin loud and freaked me out soo bad!!!

  20. I was terrified of them when I was a kid since my brothers told me theyd eat my brains out if I went to sleep (not nice I was only 8) now theyre all gonna pay for that sleepless week Im sure it didnt last any longer just felt like it – any I see get a dose of bug killer

  21. This is not a myth….I have had the worst headache for the past week, nothing has helped….this morning my ear just plugged….( I shower and use Q-tips every morning). I told my hubby that my ear was plugged and I cannot seem to get it unplugged….He put oil in my ear, left it for about 10 minues then used a lavage with warm water…after the third time low and behold here comes the little bastard a earwig!!!! I am so freaked, that is what brought me to this site…..could the bastard have laid eggs in my ear…I had hubby flushing my ear at least 20 times, I feel water logged. NO MORE HEADACHE!!!!! I am going to the Dr. on Monday and taking that SOB with me to show him, I want to know if I have eggs in there….However, the bastard was dead…so I must have been pushing it back with the daily use of the Q-Tip…worst than RAPE!!!!!!

  22. That is interesting story. Who knows we might have to revise this article. I hope someone will answer your egg related questions. Can I ask you how cold was it? Since maybe earwig was looking to find a warm and safe spot.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/421.shtml

    Earwigs are not parasitic and would rather lay their eggs under a stone. The human ear, though about the right size for an earwig, is not an ideal resting place. So if one were to crawl into someone’s ear it would not be typical behaviour but the actions of one very confused and lost earwig.

  23. To say the is a forum for ‘facts’ I was a bit disappointed. For starters earwigs are not bugs – they are beetles. As such they have wings, which are shaped like a human ear. The name derives from ‘earwing’ – the clue is in the latin name for the common earwig. The pincers are for folding the wings back into their wing cases after use. I don’t doubt that they may occasionally crawl into the ear canal : but there is no way they can go any further that the ear-drum at the end. They do not have biting or piercing mouthparts (bugs do!). A far more interesting fact about earwigs is that the female stays close to her eggs when laid and look after the hatchlings.
    They may look fearsome (to an 4 year old) but their pincers are not strong enough to be used for defence – I am more than surprised that they drew blood. Frankly they are totally harmless insects with a rather fearsome appearance and reputation.

    • Sorry MerCC, but earwigs are not beetles. They are in their own order Dermaptera, which means skin wings. Beetles are Coleoptera which means hidden wings (2 folded under the outer elytra). All earwigs, like beetles, have biting mouthparts. They can nip, but would rarely draw blood. As to the pincers, they are used for defense, to grasp prey (most eat other arthropods and slug/snail eggs and for copulation. They really are more a nuisance than a pest. The immigrant European Earwig is the worst for your plants. They love warm, moist cubbyholes.

  24. I posted 3 earwig stories last August and I just wanted to say that in two of them the earwig did pinch. Maybe in general you could say they don’t do that, but I have no reason to make it up. I had 3 other people with me at the restaurant plus the bartender that saw the pinch of blood that the earwig drew on my tongue. Maybe I didn’t have witnesses when one pinched my finger grabbing the flower hanging, but it happened. Maybe if you just held one in your hands it wouldn’t necessarily pinch you, but EARWIGS CAN & DO PINCH!!!

  25. Kathy wrote:
    I posted 3 earwig stories last August and I just wanted to say that in two of them the earwig did pinch. Maybe in general you could say they don’t do that, but I have no reason to make it up. I had 3 other people with me at the restaurant plus the bartender that saw the pinch of blood that the earwig drew on my tongue. Maybe I didn’t have witnesses when one pinched my finger grabbing the flower hanging, but it happened. Maybe if you just held one in your hands it wouldn’t necessarily pinch you, but EARWIGS CAN & DO PINCH!!!

    Sorry if I gave the impression I doubted your story – I have no way of knowing that the earwig that pinched you was of the common European species. It could have been a larger, more aggressive type – or maybe an ordinary one in a bad mood. In any case the tongue is a delicate organ and it’s very easy to draw blood – even for a poor defenceless earwig you happen to be chewing at the time. As small child I remember earwigs pinching but not enough to put me off them for life. I still say earwigs are much maligned – a caring insect with a bad press. I much prefer them to ****roaches….

  26. By the way…earwigs are not bugs or beetles. They are their own order, Dermaptera. Bugs are Hemiptera and beetles are Coleoptera.

    MerCC wrote:
    To say the is a forum for ‘facts’ I was a bit disappointed. For starters earwigs are not bugs – they are beetles. As such they have wings, which are shaped like a human ear. The name derives from ‘earwing’ – the clue is in the latin name for the common earwig. The pincers are for folding the wings back into their wing cases after use. I don’t doubt that they may occasionally crawl into the ear canal : but there is no way they can go any further that the ear-drum at the end. They do not have biting or piercing mouthparts (bugs do!). A far more interesting fact about earwigs is that the female stays close to her eggs when laid and look after the hatchlings.
    They may look fearsome (to an 4 year old) but their pincers are not strong enough to be used for defence – I am more than surprised that they drew blood. Frankly they are totally harmless insects with a rather fearsome appearance and reputation.

  27. hello just got a story for you earwig haters out there. one time i went swimming and left my swim shorts outside to dry and next time i put them on an earwig pinched me somewhere that you dont want to get pinched. im still scared sh*tless of them and im 28 6 feet tall and 300 pounds lol. i fear no man but an earwig scares the hell outta me.

  28. I like to sit in the shower and I hadn’t noticed that a earwig had come out of the drain and was in the tub. A few minutes into the shower I got a very painful pinch on my butt. I smacked it and kicked it into the drain.

  29. Recently I’ve been noticing bumps on my inner but cleft and in my vaginal area. While most seem to be sore only for a little bit the most recent one which is like the second or third on my cleft has been irritating the hell out of me. For the past 2 or more days I’ve been dealing with this burning itching pain there. The thing is I’m a kind of low tone person and can take a lot of crap. But what really gets me is constant irritation, and that’s how it was. And the worst might have been that it might have gotten more irritated by urinating and deficating. It finally calmed down and as far as I can tell there haven’t been new bites. Not too long ago my mom mentioned to me all the ants we were having then I remembered how many antz I’d had killed in my room throughout the time the guy was spraying though I hadn’t seen any recently in my room. Only in my mom’s room and I think that’s more or less because she has a door that leads to the outside. Today or more or less yesterday I saw a scrunched up ant on a pair of paints I hadn’t recently warn with a shirt and I think there was webbing. This seemed to click that this had been one o of the things that accidently fell on a web with ants I was gonna clean but I forgot which ones those were. Any way later when I was cleaning up I picked up a pair of socks I recently wore and saw part of a bug with pinchers. Thing was I didn’t remember it being there before so I went online and looked online and what do you know it looks just like the back part of an earwig. I was so relived to know what it was and it made sense. This has happened to me before and I think it was the same culprit. It bite me near those areas because they were warm and moist. Then the fact is that the exterminator just sprayed and things are gonna run for cover in high places. Yet the thing that perplexes me is that I have not seen any but I’m glad I am informed for a bit I’d been scared that I’d had bed bugs or got fleas from my dog

  30. This is in reply to M – I’m pretty confident that you would not have a bunch of bumps from earwigs. If you saw part of an earwig that is because some other type of bug or spider ate the part of it they wanted & left the rest – I have seen this before. I suggest you keep investigating what may be causing the bumps. There are several pictures online to see if it resembles bedbugs.

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