Have you ever wondered where earwigs got their peculiar name? Well, you can rest easy! These slender insects get their name from the old European myth that they crawl into your ears and tunnel into your brain to lay their eggs while you are sleeping. Lucky for us, this old wives’ tale is not true. But the pincers on the back on an earwig’s body are still enough to freak people out.
There are more than 20 different earwig species in the United States, but they are most common in the southern and southwestern parts of the country. Earwigs are omnivores – meaning they feed on both plant and animal matter. They make their way into our homes through cracks and crevices and are attracted to damp, protected areas in the home. They can be found in environments with high condensation, like an unventilated basement. They are also attracted to dirt and leaves, so an unfinished basement floor is the perfect environment for these pests!
Although coming across an earwig in your house can be a scary encounter, you can sleep well knowing they are nowhere near your ears while you are catching some z’s!