spider web

Earwigs, Spiders, and Silverfish. Oh My!!

December 30, 2020

What was that that just crawled by? Was it a spider, an earwig, or maybe one of those silverfish things? Are you like many Americans who shriek at the sight of a creepy crawly shuttling around your home? You certainly are not alone in this fear. In fact, this fear of insects, called entomophobia, is extremely common. 

Entomophobia can impact a person’s life in that they live in fear of encountering an insect in their personal space at some time or other. This fear is actually based on the knowledge that some insects can cause illness such as ticks or mosquitoes, while others are just creepy to look at. The thought alone is enough to give some people the heebie jeebies. 

The United States is filled with millions of different species of insects. Many you will never see in your lifetime, even though they could be right under your nose. Three of the species that we hear the most complaints about are the earwigs, spiders, and silverfish. Let’s take a closer look at each to help even the most squeamish deal with their fears. 



Silverfish are about an inch long, and their name gives away their general appearance. They are metallic or silver looking and the movement of the insect swaying back and forth is similar to a fish. 

If you have lots of starches around your home such as rice, pasta, or even books or wallpaper, you may have some silverfish scampering around in your home. They love to hide in books, book bindings, boxes and other items made from paper or cardboard. And like other insects, they like to be near a water source so you may find them commonly in your kitchen, basement, or bathroom. 

Once the initial shock of finding this type of insect is over, you may find that you can live with its presence as it does not usually carry disease or pathogens like some other insects. 



Known as one of the most feared insects, spiders are just downright creepy to some people. In the thousands of types of arachnids that live in the United States there are some that are poisonous such as the Black Widow or Brown Recluse. Most spiders that are found in a typical home are fairly innocuous and more of a nuisance than anything else. 

Once homeowners get over the shock of finding a spider or two, they should keep in mind that these insects keep the mosquitoes and flies at bay in your home. So ask yourself…are they that bad? 



These insects, also called pincher bugs, are a sight to behold. They are identifiable by the two forceps that trail behind this inch-long brownish bug. The pinchers are just scary enough to be off putting to unsuspecting homeowners going about their daily business. 

Folklore and general myth has these critters laying eggs in people’s ears, thus the name. This is not true. 

Earwigs enter a home through cracks or by being carried in on clothing or other items in search of food or water. While earwigs are not dangerous, they can emit a foul smell and a pinch may be painful but not harmful to humans. 

A Final Word

These three insects are really just pests that most homeowners learn to live with. Methods to keep them down in numbers include keeping moisture at bay with a humidifier, cleaning dark storage spaces regularly, and keeping dank areas as dry as possible. 


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