You may have heard that earwigs enter your ears when you’re sleeping and burrow into your brain; then you either go mad or you die. A Moment of Science puts this myth to rest.
There isn’t a bit of evidence that earwigs harm humans whatsoever. At worst, they’re simply pests. During the day they hide in dark crevices and cracks. If they get into your house you could end up finding them under couch cushions, newspapers, and in plants. Typically, though, they feed on insects and food scraps, and probably won’t feed on your living plants unless there are large numbers of them.
Their other not so pleasant feature is that they have scent glands that occasionally give off a foul odor, so you should be prepared for a stench if you step on one. They do have pincers at the tip of their abdomens, but they use them in courtship and to defend themselves from other insects. They don’t sting, bite, or dig into people’s ears.