Home Earwig Bite Do Earwigs Bite? Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

Do Earwigs Bite? Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

by Dr. Joe Morales

Do earwigs bite? What are the symptoms of earwig bites on humans? Here are pictures, treatment options and how to identify earwig scar bites on your ears and skin.

An earwig also known as Order Dermaptera in Latin, is an insect that has two antennae, six legs, three figure parts, and a set of formidable looking pincers located at the end of the belly. Its size can range between 5-25mm in size, which is dependent on its species.

Do earwigs bite people


In the United States alone, there are more than twenty earwig species. There are those that produce a filthy stinking liquid, which they use as a defense mechanism. Additionally, they have also been known to produce a scent (pheromone), which many scientists believe is the reason that they are found in large clusters.

  • Even though there is a probability of finding an earwig inside your ear, this insect does not lay eggs in your ears (canals).
  • Earwigs do not feed on human brains, as many myths would have you accept as true.
  • The insect is mostly harmless to a human being (though it can bite), but it can make for a frustrating pest when it comes to your home, garden, or flowerbed.

These are very odd looking insects that have forceps or pincers protruding from their belly part. Although the pincers are intimidating to look at, they do not have any poison, and cannot transmit a disease.

Where can you find them?

Myth - Some people believe that earwigs enter the ear and feed on the brain

Myth – Some people believe that earwigs enter the ear and feed on the brain.

  1. They love moist and humid areas
  2. It is possible to encounter an earwig hiding under a damp seat, wet pile of garden leaves, under mulch, or under a mountain of clippings.
  3. Whenever they can, they will find a way to get into your residence and move through all the available furniture and structures
  4. You can also find them in the crawl space open below your residence
  5. Earwigs prefer the moist environment that is found in a bathroom

Do earwigs bite humans?

Can earwigs bite people on the ears? Earwigs have pincers. If you pick and hold them, they may become agitated and will use them for defense. Though they may pinch a little, these are not called bites or stings.

Earwigs are some of the misunderstood insects today. Many people fear that the earwigs can bite their ears. There are even those that come across mosquito bites on humans and assume that they were made by an earwig. The misconception arises from the forceps or pincers protruding from their abdominal area.

However, even though it may appear like a dangerous insect, it really is not.

Can earwig bugs bite or pinch? If agitated they can use the forceps to hold onto your finger. Pinching, the physical act committed by the insect when defending itself may cause you some discomfort, and in some cases, it could even break into your skin surface leaving behind some marks, but you can rest assured that the pinch is in no way dangerous or poisonous.

In the event that your skin layer gets broken by the pinch, it would be best to treat the marks as nothing more than mere scratch marks, whose only problem would be being exposed to the various soil bacteria and germs.

The treatment for earwig bites on humans or marks left behind by an earwig is through the use of an antibiotic cream or lotion, which ensures that your skin does not become infected, taking into account that earwigs leave in the soil, and the soil may, therefore, have some germs.

Earwig bites on ears

As mentioned above, an earwig bite is not venomous and cannot cause any serious injury to your skin. Therefore, earwigs do not exactly sting or leave behind mark bites on humans; they pinch. As such, if you are concerned that you may have been pinched by an earwig on your ears, you should proceed to wash and fully disinfect the affected region.

In the event that you notice swelling or experience a pricking sensation, you should use an anti-inflammatory cream or apply an anti-itch treatment cream to the region. If you look at the various earwig pinch pictures available, you will see that the swelling from this pinch is barely noticeable.

Earwig bite pictures and what they look like

Though there is a possibility of an earwig biting a human being, it occurs very rarely: after all, the earwigs do not require blood-based meals like other insects e.g. the mosquitoes or the bedbugs.

Earwig bite pictures

Earwig marks from bites and pinches.

Earwig bite picture

As such, if you do wake up with red bumps or welts on your skin surface, do not rush to assume that it has been caused by the earwigs. The best you can do is compare the different bite marks left behind by different insects. This can be achieved by looking at some of the pictures provided below. The pictures provide a clear image of what such a bite mark would look like.

Symptoms of earwig bites

If an adult earwig bites your ears, you may experience some pain, but the pain is often bearable as it is more of a pinch. The bite mark left behind is so small that the only way to prove that you have actually been bitten or pinched, would be if the skin was broken.

In such a scenario, blood may start oozing from the affected region and may, therefore, leave behind a tiny mark. Bite marks are also one of the primary earwig bite symptoms that you can find. For others, there may be no symptoms at all. The following are some of the most common earwig bite symptoms available.

  1. Given the fact that the earwigs have two pincers in their abdominal area, there is a chance that you may come across two distinct red marks on your skin surface. The bite marks tend to be quietly distinct from each other, and there will always be a slight space between the two.
  2. In case this insect pinches you too hard, and you experience some pain, you could notice a small amount of blood coming from the area that has been pinched.
  3. You could notice redness and inflammation on the region that has been bitten
  4. When you fail to take measures immediately, you could end up with an infection in the region that has been bitten. In a worst-case scenario, this would lead to some swelling being experienced
  5. There is also a chance of having to deal with cellulitis—a condition where the affected region becomes infected, resulting in a wound. The wound may further turn reddish and become more swollen.

The earwig bite symptoms mentioned above are the most common. Even though you should not be worried about the pinch, if you were to experience something more serious, do not wait, but proceed to consult a professional immediately.

Treatment for earwig bites

Before you can begin with the treatment, you need first to be sure on what has caused the bite mark.  Using the symptoms and the pictures provided above, it should not be too hard for you to identify an earwig bite mark.

When you make the confirmation, begin with the treatment procedure to ensure that the region will not be infected. Earwig bite marks can be treated using the following steps:

1. Wash the bitten area

As soon as you have been bitten, ensure that you wash that region immediately using a mild soap and some water. This helps in eliminating any bacteria and soil germs that could have been transferred from the forceps to your skin.

2. Apply an ice pack

Just as is the case with all other insect bites, there is always the possibility that the infected region could begin to swell and may become very hot after the bite as compared to your other body parts. Therefore, placing an ice pack in this region will be the ideal option.

The ice in your pack will assist in lowering the temperature around this region as well as reducing the redness triggered by that earwig nibble. An ice pack will also assist with any irritation or itchiness that may follow.

3. Use a towel to dry the region and apply a skin ointment

Once you have used the ice pack, but experience some itchiness, it will be ideal to use a soft towel to dry the entire region.

Ensure the skin is completely dry, and then proceed to apply an anti-itch ointment to it. Anti-itch creams and ointments are readily available at the local drug stores.

4. Use Neosporin and hydrogen peroxide

The two are antibiotics and anti-infective drugs. When the wound is clean, follow the instructions on the hydrogen peroxide pack before applying it to your wound.

The peroxide will assist in keeping the infections at bay, but it should not be used on any open wounds. Apply Neosporin on the open wound to hasten the healing process.

How to get rid of earwigs (Video)

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1 comment

Bailey Jun 1, 2019 - 3:49 pm

This was very helpful I saw an Earwig in my room and ran out and grabbed the laptop freaking out and started learning alot about them since then lol 🙂