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Earwig Myths and Facts.

Updated on March 16, 2020

Myths of an Earwig!

Anyone who watched old Night Gallery shows or heard the horror stories of earwigs crawling into the ear canal then laying eggs that hatch and infest the brain probably has been frightened the same thing could happen in real life.

Those are movies based on a "fear factor" for the sake of the film's plot, not on facts. After all, how many real life vampires or werewolves do you know? Of course that question is rhetorical as there are no vampires or werewolves as we know!

Be assured however that earwigs are real, and they do look for small dark places to burrow into -- like our ears. They do pinch if they're afraid, and if it causes a staph infection it can be both painful and a bit annoying at the length of time to clear up that itch.

Just rest assured the earwig is not going to lay any eggs in your ear or brain!


Earwig Facts

Cutting to the chase the first thing to realize is this little creature is more afraid of you than you should be of them. I'm sure you've heard that of snakes, and while it might be true, doesn't make it any less scarey!

That pesky critter has made it's way to what they might think is a soft warm dark place to snuggle up or just looking to check out for this strange tunnel that happens to be your ear!

I'm living proof they do indeed go into your ear. I did the worst possible thing one can do! I woke from a good sleep screaming! Since i had fallen asleep in a recliner and woke feeling something fluttering around on the edge of my ear canal. As i tried to sweep it away, it used survival instinct and zoomed down into my ear canal. I let out a scream to wake the dead. I went running all the way to the bathroom and leaned over the sink believing that my scream would scare it out! Well, it worked, but not before it pinched down inside my ear.

Here's a couple of rules that could help!

RULE 1: Do not, by any means, start screaming as I did. Walk, don't run to a place you know it will be caught so you can view it and possibly take it with you to the doctor so they can be sure to identify it correctly.

  • The Earwig also freaked out and used its defense against me. It pinched inside my ear canal and squirmed looking for the escape to freedom from my blood curdling screams!

RULE 2: Try your very hardest to remain calm. If you can and if you have any way to use some Luke warm water you can wash him out and you'll both remain unharmed!

  • The reason for Luke warm water is because cold water causes dizziness and I'm not so sure this bug will be very forgiving since its already found a dark warm place!
  • If you can't wait for warm water then it's your choice to wait for 911 to come and help get it out, or if possible you can get someone to drive you to a hospital, and they can get it out. Just remember please do not scream or try to poke anything into your ear canal.
  • Please do remember cold water in your ear will make you dizzy. Please keep that in mind.

RULE 3: If you plan on getting it out, and if at all possible try to capture this creepy crawler on the chance you want to look it up to make sure what kind it is, and if its pinched you then showing it to the Doctor might be of help to him in treating the wound.

  • There are over 200 species of Earwigs so if it does pinch you there could be different types of infections. If indeed you do begin to feel the beginnings of an itch or even sore place on or by your ear or neck go to your Doctor or hospital as soon as possible. You will need medicine for the itch and an antibiotic to prevent an infection, as they do carry bacteria. Use the antibiotic drops they give you as directed.

YES, I said neck.

Earwig Infections

Since they are not poisonous don't panic! The staph infection is your main concern. If it has pinched, sometimes a little piece of it's pincher can break off and become lodged in the ear canal.

In my case after I captured my assailant I used a bit of peroxide on a Q-tip and tried to clean my ear canal. I heard all the crackle and popping of the peroxide doing its job! After that I felt OK. I went back to sleep. Of course I had it covered then as I was not, without fear, please!

The next morning I woke with an awful itch! I also felt like a marble was lodged under my ear on my neck. Needless to say, I was on the phone making a Doctor appointment! I was given a strong antibiotic, a cortisone cream as well as antibiotic/cortisone ear drops. This was a very expensive nip in the ear and painful as well as itchy!

Thankfully they worked very quick and I felt better. But my main mistake was stopping the medication the minute I began to feel better. I was back at the Doctor several times and each time neither he or the practitioner could see any part left from the pincher. Please don't keep itching it, and use your medication for it religiously.

I kept trying to dig around in there itching it I was actually keeping it irritated as well. As some it's just not so comfortable knowing there had been a bug with a notorious background roaming my sacred hearing vessel.

One last time I did an ear wash with a dish under to catch the water as I washed it out, and after all I'd been through there were tiny remnants of my little pesky pincher in the water. Ah ha! I had proof to my Doctor that I indeed had part of it still in my ear. I just needed that swelling to go down.

My very best advice to anyone:

  • Seek medical attention quickly.
  • Do not miss or skip medicine doses or stop before they run out.
  • Please follow up even after you believe it to have healed.
  • Above all, do NOT keep digging and scratching with a Q-tip and keeping it irritated. Your ears have ear wax for a reason let it do its job!

One last important detail for babies and children who cannot yet speak. Netting is a great way to protect our tiny people from these monsters! Please do not ignore if they keep trying to grab at their ears, and above all check their ears if they're too young to speak. Look them over if you know they're fed, not wet or hungry. Please don't just chalk it up to them being cranky.

If they are dry, fed and would otherwise be happy but keep crying something is wrong that you cannot see. Netting protects them from other insects as well. Go to your nearest home and garden center to get a quantity of boric acid that you sprinkle around outside the house that will keep them from coming inside. Netting can be bought easily and it's not expensive. But the baby netting will save your baby from any little critters that will cause you both unnecessary ailments and pain.


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