Mission Statement: Provide a Platform For Opinions, Innovation, and Inspiration for the Community

What Good Are Earwigs?

By Dianne Witte

Seeing the good in everything is a practice recommended by the wisdom teachings, but seeing the good in earwigs is a stretch for me.

Earwigs are ugly, brown, crawling creatures with probing tentacles and pincers. They always startle me when I come upon them because they rush to hide and I must sense their panic. Anyway, I have this instinctive startle response that creates an adrenalin rush and flight response.

Not only do they startle me, they are notorious for eating my spinach and cabbage and leaving random holes in every leaf. Couldn’t they eat a whole leaf and leave some perfect leaves for me to eat? Hmmm….Does the plant care who eats it? I suspect it would probably prefer not to be eaten at all. I know some would say, “Who likes spinach and cabbage anyway? Leave it to the bugs,” but there are lots of us who love them.

Now, going back to the original question; how can I see any worldly good in earwigs? Doing a little research I discover earwigs get their name and reputation from an old wives’ tale that they crawl into your ear and lay their eggs in your brain. This is not actually true; however, they have been known to crawl into a human ear in search of a warm humid place to spend the daylight hours. Oh boy, more reason to find them repulsive. They are beneficial in that they do eat insect larvae, aphids and other small insects. Some even say they eat slugs, which would be a good thing. However, they don’t limit themselves to that. They also eat garden vegetables, fruits and flowers and scavenge and eat dead animal matter. Not too picky about what they eat are they?

Perhaps I’ve unfairly maligned these creepy crawlies. If they eat slugs, maybe I’m blaming them for eating the cabbage, when it is really slugs. But, if that’s the case, they aren’t doing a very good job, since I still have something eating them. I can’t say I’ve actually seen them eat my veggies. OK, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but that doesn’t ease my startle response. If I just accept the fact they are part of the order in my garden and I might be startled by them, when I least expect it, that is a good way to deal with them, for now. If they cause too much damage, I’ll use recommended organic methods of control in my garden, to keep them at bay. However, there is a “ring pass not” around my house. Earwigs have been warned not to come inside or they will be dead. Seeing the good in something doesn’t mean I have to live with them.

%d bloggers like this: