Earwigs are a real nuisance and it’s difficult to imagine that they have any meaningful reason for existing. After all, what good is an insect that supposedly burrows in our ears when we sleep? However, like so many things on this planet – earwigs do have a purpose, whether it’s obvious or not!
Earwigs are omnivores, regarded in the insect community as ‘sanitary engineers’ – that is, they help clean up the environment by eating decaying plant material as well as live and dead insects. Quite clever, don’t you think? Although their role seems rather insignificant to us humans, earwigs help to maintain and sustain the ecosystem by keeping the population of other insects/plants in balance (i.e. preventing overgrowth of one species), hence the earwig is an important insect predator as well as maintaining the population of its prey (such as bottleblue flies).
Earwigs like to hang out in cool, damp or wet areas, so beware when you collect the wood for the fire or move your plant pots around the house that a few of them don’t. creep out!
So before you stamp on them and squeal in terror, remember, earwigs are harmless insects (albeit very ugly ones!). They may have scary looking pincers, but they have no venom (and so are not poisonous) and do not sting people (unlike those pesky mosquitos!).
Oh, and don’t worry, the burrowing in our ears is just a myth!
Answer By Chloe Westley
Image Source: Earwig by Andreas Kay on Flickr