Are earwigs dangerous or poisonous to humans?

Because of their intimidating pincers, or forceps, protruding from the abdomen, earwigs might appear to be a dangerous bug. This is a misconception. Earwigs can use their forceps to grasp onto a finger if agitated, but earwigs do not sting nor are they dangerous. They have no venom, so earwigs are not poisonous.

Insects such as mosquitoes or bed bugs can injure people by biting. Others can sting by inserting a stinger from the abdomen, through which they often can inject venom. Venom is used to defend from predators and to subdue prey. Earwigs cannot sting, since they lack a stinger and venom or poison sac.

The physical act of pinching using the forceps might cause some discomfort and might even break the skin in rare cases. If the skin is broken, it is best to treat it as any scratch which may be exposed to germs in the soil. Use an antibiotic cream or lotion to make sure that the scratch does not become infected.

Perhaps the greatest danger from earwigs is to garden plants, as earwigs, depending on the species, like to feed on seedlings.

There are no known injuries requiring emergency treatment due to earwigs. And the folklore that they can get into your ears and lay eggs or enter the brain is not true. However, if there are any medical concerns, speak to a physician.

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Resources

Protect Your Home From Earwigs

Brown bugs with prongs pointing from their backs

Q

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