Of all the myths about insects, there is one that stands out above the rest. If thoughts of a bug crawling into your ear and laying eggs aren’t bad enough, how about the creature making its way through the ear canal, eating your brain, and driving you insane. Rest assured, this is just a myth based on an Anglo-Saxon legend, but the earwig remains a pest, regardless. Adding fuel to the fire is a 1972 episode of Night Gallery, written by Rod Serling, called The Caterpillar. A murder is planned with an earwig as the weapon of choice, and you guessed it, back to brain-eating. Despite its name, there is no greater chance of one of them ending up in your ear than any other bug.
Their name comes from the Olde English ēare (ear) wicga (beetle). This ferocious-looking creature has been around for over 200 million years. With a sleek, flat body, antenna, and powerful forceps coming out of their abdomen, what they do to our imaginations are far worse than reality. They have six legs to carry their scurrying body when startled, and they can fly but seldom do. There are over 2,000 species, and Charles Darwin collected many of them as proof of his theories.
In the United States, we have ten species of native earwigs, but the one we see the most is the European. It was first found in 1907 in Seattle and has now spread across the country. The males use their pinchers in battle to win over a mate. In a rarity in the insect world, they are great mothers. They keep their eggs in a safe place and guard them for weeks. In an effort to learn more about them, researchers put a fake egg made of wax into a nest. They found that the earwig started caring for it but removed it from the nest when the bug found the scent to be off. The females also cleaned the eggs, removing harmful fungi. She also sprayed them with an anti-fungal chemical. This spray is a marvel of evolution as the bug has been found with 26 different species of fungus on it. To pay mom back for her loyalty, the nymphs eat her when they are ready to leave the nest.
Luckily, they pose no threat to human health. A bite from their pincers may hurt, but it won’t even break the skin, and they don’t transmit harmful pathogens. Some species can emit a battery-acid-like smell when threatened. They don’t run very far and rarely take to the air, but they are excellent at hitching a ride on your clothes, luggage, flowers, and packages left by the front door. When the weather turns cold, they can make way their way inside and take a long wintery sleep.
At first sight of this nightmarish creature, contact Cache Pest Control. We’ll give you a free estimate and develop a plan that ensures you won’t lose a night’s sleep. We are the top-rated exterminator in Box Elder, Cache, and Rich counties.