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SomeoneElse's avatar

Is it an urban myth about spiders/insects crawling into someone's ears?

Asked by SomeoneElse (2501 points ) May 31st, 2012

I read a short story where this happened and the insect laid eggs and I wondered if it was something which could happen in real life.
Made me feel uncomfortable and I couldn’t sleep!

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23 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it can. Certain tropical insects will lay their larvae in body orifices and I think, while rare, that Earwigs have been known to go into peoples ear canals. Flies will lay their eggs in wounds and the maggots will feed on the decaying flesh. This is a huge concern for livestock and other animals with wounds, keeping flies away from the injury while it is healing.

Rabbits and other farm animals get a condition known as “fly strike” which can be either maggots in undetected wounds or with rabbits, laying their eggs around the animals genital area and the maggots burrowing into the flesh around the genitals. Not a pretty sight.

tan253's avatar

yes happened to my Uncle!!!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Coloma Earwigs do not crawl into people’s ears. Years ago, there was an episode of The Twilight Zone that told the story of a woman with an earwig that was borrowing its way through her brain. That alone rekindled a fear of the innocent bug.

As for maggots, yes, wounds attract some insects that lay eggs in the exposed area. That’s not really the same thing as a healthy ear though. What’s fascinating is that some medical practitioners are now using maggots and leeches to cure human wounds when more commonly used medicines do not work.

@tan253 What happened to your uncle? What kind of a bug was it?

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I wasn’t sure if that was a myth, good to know.

marinelife's avatar

I had a moth fly into my ear once. It was absolutely maddening to feel it flap its wings inside my head! I went to the ER.

ratboy's avatar

Years ago, a pillbug crawled into my ear while I slept. I don’t think it had any intention of doing so—it came in through the window and probably fell from the wall. It was unnerving to feel and hear its feet drumming around inside my head. I poured water in my ear and shook my head and the bug curled into a ball and rolled out with the water.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I think the urban legend is more like, “The average person swallows 8 spiders in their sleep per year” or something like that.

Bugs can get into your ears. We went on a church mission trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico when I was 13, and my mother, an RN, set up a free clinic. She was tending to a young boy and when she went to check his ears, his left ear canal was horribly obstructed by something. She carefully tried to remove the object with tiny tweezers… and pulled out part of a bee. We drove him to the nearest doctor in the area (about an hour away) so they could use special instruments to remove the rest of the bees. There were three crusty, waxy bees in his ear. God only knows how long they’d been there.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t know about bugs laying eggs in ears. My hygiene is generally better than to have to worry overmuch about that for longer than a few hours.

However, let’s talk about ants in your pants: I’m here to tell you that those can be real, and you can be made to “dance” when that happens.

Coloma's avatar

I have actually woken up to a frog on my pillow. Yep, I live in tree frog land and they are always getting in the house in the summer. No, I did not kiss it. :-p

hearkat's avatar

I have seen ants and cockroaches in ears, and have heard of moths in ears, also.

A few years ago there was a news story about a boy who had a spider’s nest hatch in his ear.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

That does it. I’m never sleeping again.

dogmom's avatar

Spiders and insects can crawl into ears, nostrils and your mouth. Think like a bug as in wanting to hide in a warm moist place where it’s unlikely that you’ll be disturbed. If the insect (yes, even a cockroach) is in your ear have someone pour a little mineral oil in your ear. The bug will back out. Never stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow. Eardrums are easily punctured. It’s flea and tick season. Don’t remove ticks with tweezers; there’s a higher risk of breaking the tick and leaving the head embedded in your skin, which increases risk of infection. Just grab the bugger and pull. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the tick. A fully engorged female tick will drop off after feeding and can lay up to 2,000–4,000 eggs a day for up to 14 days. Find them early.

BIRDistheWORD's avatar

Someone told me that on average, a person eats 3–4 spiders as their sleeping.

CWOTUS's avatar

I wonder why in hell a person would eat a sleeping spider. That sounds dastardly cruel. And how can you tell, anyway? Sometimes they only ‘seem’ to be sleeping.

BIRDistheWORD's avatar

They crawl in your mouth…as your sleeping…

woodcutter's avatar

Years ago when I had a bearded dragon I would feed it an occasional moth captured outside by the porch light and one of those buggers went into my ear and proceeded to bite the hell out of the inside of my head. It was maddening to the point we had to go to ER to have it extracted. What a pain. The doc told me he does this so many times a year he’s stopped counting. So…shove cotton balls in your ears if you must feed the lizard flying bugs.

Coloma's avatar

@woodcutter Oh wow..I feed the tree frogs moths, so far so good. lol

woodcutter's avatar

@Coloma Be careful because the way the moth hairs are angled they cannot back up to get out even if they try. It’s a one way deal with those guys. It’s a horrible sensation and others in the waiting room will start to scoot over a few seats to get some distance between you and them. You come off looking like a psycho -madman when the moth resumes working your ear canal over and it looks like you are screaming at….nobody…inserts twilight zone theme.

Sunny2's avatar

@Coloma You missed your chance! I always kiss any frog I can get my hands on.

LovinglyMiscontrued's avatar

I think I cringed at everyone’s comments. UGH! It creeps me out when a flying bug even gets close to my ear let alone thinking of one entering it.

Megan64's avatar

Why did I read this?

pollyle's avatar

Yes they can. Ewww. I just wake up to feeling something in my ear, stuck my pinky in the and killed a spider.due to its smushed condition I can’t tell what kind of spider it was. Now im freaked and afraid it bit me and may have been a recluse?? What to do, its sunday so dr isnt open.

woodcutter's avatar

Get the rest of it out with a cotton swab and save all the pieces. The ER might be able to find out, but for sure they will know if there is a bite wound.

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