Science Questions

What do earwigs eat?

Sun, 21st Dec 2008

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Nigel Edmonds asked:

What do earwigs eat?


Helen - Earwigs fortunately donít eat our brains. Thatís a bit of a wivesí tale. They eat all sorts of stuff. They can eat plants, they can dig out dead things. Theyíre omnivores essentially so plants, flowers  and other insects but I think we can rest assured they donít eat you.


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Nigel Edmunds asked the Naked Scientists: What do earwigs eat? What do you think? Nigel Edmunds, Mon, 15th Dec 2008

Wikipedia - Earwigs

Most earwigs found in Europe and North America are of the species Forficula auricularia, the European or common earwig, which is distributed throughout the cooler parts of the northern hemisphere. This species feeds on other insects, plants, ripe fruit, and garbage. Plants that they feed on typically include clover, dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhock, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberry, sunflowers, celery, peaches, plums, grapes, potatoes, roses, seedling beans and beets, and tender grass shoots and roots; they have also been known to eat corn silk, damaging the corn. Typically they are a nuisance because of their diet, but normally do not present serious hazards to crops. dentstudent, Mon, 15th Dec 2008

They are little buggers for eating fresh shoots on Clematis!!! Don_1, Mon, 15th Dec 2008

So they don't crawl into your ears and eat your brains?
What a disappointment. I wonder where that idea came from - or is it something etymological rather than entymalogical. lyner, Mon, 15th Dec 2008

Heh heh! Very witty, Sophie! Asyncritus, Mon, 22nd Dec 2008

So where does the name come from? Did someone wake up after a sleep in a field and discover one crawling around his ear?
I expect that same person would have decided on an intelligent designer to explain that. lyner, Mon, 22nd Dec 2008

It seems so.
The origin is the Old English earwicga, from eare (ear) and wicga (probably related to wiggle). The creature was formerly believed to crawl into the human ear. blakestyger, Mon, 22nd Dec 2008

Of all the little beasies that would fit in yer ear, I wonder why they chose that one to be given the name. Perhaps their  colour is a bit like rich dried ear wax. Nice. lyner, Mon, 22nd Dec 2008

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