Earwigs – these insects look like aliens from another planet. Their long bodies, numerous legs and pinchers make them the stuff of horror movies. In fact, these pests have earned a reputation as deadly predators that feed on the human brain. None of the rumors are true, mind you, but it doesn't take anything away from their frightening appearance.
Pinch, Bite or Sting: Are Earwigs Dangerous?
Contrary to folklore, earwigs are no more dangerous than a cricket. Many people misunderstand this common household pest, believing that it bites or pinches when it attacks. Earwigs don't attack people and will only use their pinchers if they're handled and frightened. If they do use their pinchers on someone, it feels like a pinch and doesn't normally break the skin. Therefore, earwigs don't bite; they pinch.
How Did Earwigs Get Their Reputation?
In medieval times, doctors believed that earwigs could crawl into a person's ear and burrow down into the brain, causing serious harm or death. This insect struck fear in the hearts of most everyone back then, and they kept it as far away as possible at all times. Of course, earwigs don't enter your ear or burrow into your brain. Although they look sinister, they're not venomous and only use their pinchers for defense.
Should You Worry About an Earwig Pinch?
If you're pinched by an earwig, chances are that it feels like a small yet painless pinch. Large earwigs may cause a semi-painful pinch, but it's rare for the skin to break. If a pinch does break the skin, treat it as you would any insect bite. Clean the wound with antibiotic cream, and cover it with a bandage. Because earwigs live in the soil, they may carry soil-dwelling bacteria that could infect your wound.
How to Prevent Earwig Infestations
Earwigs are like any other insect. They invade homes in search of shelter and food. If you have an earwig infestation, seek professional pest control to eliminate the problem. After all, if one earwig gets into your home, more can enter at any time. A pest control professional can identify their entryways and treat an infestation on the spot.