European Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

What makes these insects interesting are the myths attached to them.  The most common, but untrue, is that they will crawl into your ear and eat your brains.  They are also feared for their painful stings or bites from their rear pinchers (cerci).  Their pinchers are actually used for a clamping device while eating or during sex and don’t inflict damage on humans though I haven’t confirmed this personally yet.

European Earwig (Forficula auricularia)     

Earwigs entered North America in about 1907 and reached our area (British Columbia, Canada) in 1919. Earwigs are considered a garden pest by some and beneficial by others.  Climate tends to affect their behaviour. Earwigs are good mothers and take care of the kids for some time after they hatch from eggs.  I heard that in Germany they are encouraged because the mother is carnivorous and catches harmful plant bugs to feed her kids.  In our area they are mostly vegetarian and chew plants which is regurgitated as baby food.  


4 comments

  1. Hmmmmm……interesting. Are you sure they don’t crawl inside your ears and eat your brains? I am just thinking of how that theory was tested. LOL.

    • Actually they sort of remind me of the creature from the very first horror movie I saw – The Tingler in 1959. Perhaps that is why I have’t allowed one to pinch me but I do plan to do so this Spring.


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