What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

A long bug called a Pricker bug, by the locals, has invaded my propert and even entered my home. I worry for my child’s safety.
August 22, 2009
The bug is long, about 2 inches in length, and very narrow body. It has a curved tail like a scorpion, but no pincher claws in the front like the scorpion. The pincher is on the end of the tail. Looked more like a stinger to me at first. It moves quickly, and when squished with a book, I had to push down HARD to kill it. It freaked me out because I thought it might be a scorpion of some sort, or at least a relative to the scorpion. My neighbor looked at the one I killed (I saved it in a baggy), and he called it a “Pincher” bug. But, I KNOW that’s not the correct name for this bug. He also told me they sting or pinch and it’s VERY painful. I have a child (who is allergic to almost all bugs, and has a severe reaction to even a tick or mosquito bite. A tick bi te swelled her entire face in the eye area and it looked red and puffy for days. People thought I beat my child because her eye was so swelled too.) in my home, and I am afraid she will unknowingly come across one and step on it or something, getting hurt. Are they poisonous? Are they dangerous? What are they?? I live in central Florida. I tend to seem them in the rainy times. They are dark colored, maybe black or dark brown. long and thin, tail curved up on end. Their shells are very strong, it was difficult to break it when I squished it with the book, took a couple times and alot of pressure before I heard the crunch. I hate bugs, and don’t usually go out of my way to kill them, just stay away from them. If I knew what this was, I could figure out how to get them gone from my yard, and when they come in the house. Please help me???? My main concern to find out about these bugs is to protect my daughter. Please help me to figure this out?? I will search for pics, and hopef ully I find one to send with this. If I don’t, I hope you have an image in mind already.
Alexis
Dade City Florida near forest, near residential area.

Adult male (bottom) and female (top) European earwigs, Foricula auricularia Linnaeus Photograph by: Jim Kalisch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Adult male (bottom) and female (top) European earwigs, Foricula auricularia Linnaeus Photograph by: Jim Kalisch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Dear Alexis,
Your inquiry has us totally baffled because you attached a photo lifted from the University of Nebraska Department of Entomology that clearly identifies your Pricker Bug as an European Earwig.  Armed with that information, the first website that pops up in an internet search is the Featured Creatures website that had quite detailed information on the European Earwig.  Earwigs are not poisonous, and though the forceps at the tip of the male’s abdomen can cause a slight pinch, your neighbor was exaggerating when he said it is “VERY painful.”  Comparing the pinch of an Earwig to the bite of a Tick or Mosquito, both of which can spread diseases, is irrational.  According to the CDC, a partial list of Tickborne Diseases includes Babesiosis (Babesia Infection), Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Lyme Disease, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, and Tick Born Relapsing Fever.  Mosquitoes are an even more serious concern.  According to the AMCA website:  “Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism — over one million people die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, they also transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to.”  The National Center for Infectious Diseases website has the following partial list of Mosquito Borne Diseases:  Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever, and Yellow Fever.  Climate Change, Global Warming, and traveling around the world could cause some of these typically tropical diseases to surface in the U.S.  In our opinion, your squishing of an Earwig with a book constitutes Unnecessary Carnage.  You do not need to concern yourself with your daughter’s safety when it comes to Earwigs.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

One Response to Earwig sighting accompanied by maternal hysteria and book bashing!!!

  1. Joyce says:

    I live in Norman, Oklahoma and occasionally find earwigs in my house. Is there a way to discourage them? Thank you.

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