What does an earwig do?

Or, what’s the point of earwigs?

I have an earwig infestation in my garden at the moment…turn anything over and squillions of them will wriggle away to wherever they can find sanctuary I guess.

But what do they DO? They’re not eating my plants (or don’t appear to be anyway) and they’re not crawling into my ears and wigging out.

What’s an earwig for?

Earwigs have no point. They simply are. I’m sort of at a loss as to how to answer your question. They eat things like insects, lice, and plants. They reproduce, lay eggs that grow into earwigs, and then they die. They’re a fairly common garden pest, if that’s what you mean.

eat dead plant material, eat live plant material, eat bugs.

If you mean why did god make them? They were created for horror stories and late night TV shows. If you are asking about their and our place in nature, its breed and die.

Hopes the mods won’t rain their wrath on me, because this is GQ not IMHO, but I’m going to put it out here anyhow.

When you look at the “family tree” for humans, you see lots of branches. Many of those branches dead end and finally there is only one dominate primate.

Well, everything else has their own tree. Modern day earwigs might not have as many branches and vines as our tree does, but they are doing what is required. Breed successfully and die.

Sorry for the confusion…of course earwigs mate successfully and of course they eat SOMETHING. It’s just that, given their huge numbers during an infestation, I’ve never seen any evident ‘damage’ from their presence in my garden, and I wondered what niche they filled I guess.

So when I have an infestation, it’s an Earwig Orgy happening?


They typically eat decaying plant matter and smaller insects. So an infestation of them would imply that you have a lot of one or the other. They also roam around a bit looking for food so you might just have a nice dark spot they like hanging out in and then go out for food later.

Mother earwigs create a nest and will protect their eggs and defend/raise their young (pics if you’d like). So you might have a teaming earwig nursery going on as well.

I hate to break this to you, kam, but they do sometimes go into ears. My sister got one in her left ear when she was eight. It pinched her eardrum in its pincers and wouldn’t let go, causing (apparently) agonizing pain. My brilliant mama held my sister side-down and poured cooking oil into her ear, drowning the 'wig, which luckily released its hold and floated up her ear canal.

So, watch out!

How much ear can an earwig wig if an earwig did wig ears?

I don’t doubt an earwig accidentally got into your sisters ear (it seems like a thing that could happen occasionally, even if earwigs aren’t actually interested in ears) or that cooking oil got it out. But I seriously doubt it was pinching her eardrum.

Around here, they’re for protein for my little flock of chickens and for scaring my city relatives with when they come to visit. I don’t mind them myself, but there’s something unsettling about the way they move that gives my SIL fits.

What’s a human for? Great lumbering bipedal creatures, just what is the point of them?

They eat my goddamn plants like crazy. Anything “leafy”–pepper plants, basil, parsley, cilantro. Stronger spices seem to be immune, such as thyme, oregano, sage, chives. Anyway they were so annoying I finally moved my spice garden to pots on a different part of my property.

since they are omnivores then normally they wouldn’t likely make an impact on any one crop.

they do like the dark and moist where decaying plant matter and insects are plentiful. that is what they might mostly chow down on.

In defense of the earwig…While they do sometimes graze on ornamentals and garden crops the threshold for economic damage is fairly high, usually only occurs when earwigs are present in very large numbers. They are useful predators in that they mainly eat mites, thrips, borers and other plant pests. In my area at least (other species found in other regions may act differently) they are generally considered a net beneficial to a garden unless present in overwhelming numbers.

Okay then. At least one other person is as silly as I am.

Darn it…I thought I was unique!

According to Eddie Izzard, they make chutney.

Earwigs look lie a cross between termites and lobsters. We already have termites and lobsters, so what’s the point?

Hey, it made me happy. Now I have a little buggy ditty rambling around my skull. Perhaps earwigs are related to earworms?

Well, according to my friend in first grade they crawl into your ears and eat your brain. Alas, I have been unable to find a cite supporting this, but at the time he seemed to know what he was talking about.