Earwig Bite

Do earwigs bite people? What do their bites look like?

Earwigs are one of the most misunderstood insects. Many fear that they bite people. Some even look at mosquito bites and think that they are earwig bites.Their name, earwig, derives from several possible origins. One suggests that the name originated in European language which called the insect “ear worm” or “ear wiggler.” The horror film type of folklore about this insect leads people to historically believe that this bug is very dangerous.

Even medieval science and medical journals of the day implied that earwigs can burrow into the brain or at least into the ears and cause serious harm. This fear has caused this cryptic insect to maintain a reputation as an insect which should be kept far away. The casual observer, though, will notice that the earwig has pincers or forceps protruding from the abdomen. These pincers are used to capture prey for predaceous species, help in reproduction, and for defense.

Many people wonder if earwigs will bite people. The pincers are used for defense and if picked up and agitated, the earwig will exercise the use of the forceps. These are not stings or bites, though, which are terms used for insects with stingers or biting mouthparts. Even in extreme cases of large forceps of adult males, the pinch can be painful but there is no venom and the pinch rarely breaks the skin.

In the event that the pinch does break the skin, it is best to utilize the same first aid as one would use for any type of scratch. Keep in mind that earwigs do live in the soil typically, so there is the possibility of germs getting into the cut from the forceps. So, if there is a cut or open sore, or if the earwig pinch breaks skin, use a proper antibiotic lotion or cream. There is no telltale “bite mark” unique to an earwig as they do not hurt people. If there are medical concerns, speak to a medical professional.

Resources

Protect Your Home From Earwigs

Earwig Facts | Earwig Habitats & Behaviors

Earwig illustration

Brown bugs with prongs pointing from their backs

Q

Could you tell me if you think they are roaches or waterbugs? I have looked at the pictures and am not sure if they really look like either.

Differences Between Earwig & Silverfish | Orkin

How Do I Keep Earwigs Out of My House?

What Are the Differences Between Earwigs and Cockroaches?

What Do Earwig Eggs Look Like?

Do Earwigs Have Wings and Do They Fly?

What Do Earwigs Eat?

What Are the Differences Between Earwigs and Spiders?

Cause of Earwig in Homes & Apartments

Connect with Us

Our customer care team is available for you 24 hours a day.

877-819-5061

Find a Branch

Our local Pros are the pest experts in your area.

Get a Personalized Quote

We will help you find the right treatment plan for your home.

THE BEST IN PESTS.™

SERVICES

Pest ControlTermite ControlPrevent and Protect

PEST LIBRARY

Browse All Pests

© 2022 Orkin LLC

Terms of UsePrivacyAccessibility StatementCareers