Earwig Bites — Do Earwigs Bite People?

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.



Description of earwigs

Earwigs are a fairly well-known insect, from folk lore if not from actual experience. The earwig is the insect reputed in superstition to purposefully crawl into the ears of sleeping persons for the purpose of burrowing into the brain to lay eggs. Of course, there is no truth to these tales, though earwigs, like moths, beetles, cockroaches, ants, and flies may wander into our ear canals by accident.

Earwigs are fairly common, though not often abundant in Iowa. They are rarely noticed except after prolonged periods of a year or more with wet weather. Earwigs are relatively easy to identify by the prominent pincers or forceps on the end of the abdomen. On females the pincers are fairly straight, while male pincers are more curved and caliper-like. These pincers are used as both offensive and defensive weapons. Though they may try to pinch if captured and handled, they do not harm people. The common earwig is about 5/8 inch long and dark brown with a reddish head and pale yellow-brown legs.

Male earwig

Damage caused by earwigs

Earwigs are outdoor insects usually found in damp areas, such as under mulch, dead leaves, logs, and piles of firewood, boards, stones and other debris or in rotted wood where they feed on moist, decaying plant material. Though earwigs occasionally attack living plants, including vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants, they are considered only minor pests of plants in Iowa.

Like boxelder bugs, crickets, and lady beetles, the earwig is a household pest as an accidental invader. They enter houses either by accident or when seeking shelter, especially in the fall or during periods of prolonged dry weather. Earwigs inside the house do not cause any harm or destruction. They are an annoyance or nuisance because of their presence. If disturbed, earwigs may produce a noticeable foul odor.

Management of earwigs

Earwigs found inside the house can be swept or picked up and discarded. Indoor treatment with household residual insecticides such as for cockroaches could be used in cracks and crevices that serve as points of entry, and along baseboards, window sills and door thresholds. Such treatments may provide limited benefit as more earwigs may wander in from outdoors.

Several controls can be used outdoors. If possible reduce outdoor lighting that attracts earwigs around doors and windows . Reduce attractiveness of the landscape and breeding/hiding sites. Earwigs need and are very attracted to moisture. Eliminate damp, moist conditions near the house such as around faucets and air-conditioning units. Channel water from rain gutters and spouts away from the house foundation. Consider removing landscape mulch (wood chips, gravel, etc.) from against the house. Finally, prevent entry by using caulking compound, putty and weather stripping around doors, windows, pipes and other entry sites, especially at the ground level.

Some persons report being able to reduce earwig populations around the house by trapping. Place burlap bags, boards, newspapers or other cover material on mulch, shrubbery and similar habitats. Collect individuals that congregate under the cover and discard. As a last resort insecticides can be sprayed around the house to stop or limit earwigs from getting indoors. Treat a three to six foot band around the house adjacent to the foundation (perimeter treatment). Apply a home garden or turfgrass insecticide labeled for this purpose as needed and according to label directions. Applications in late afternoon are preferred. Use sufficient spray water (or post-treatment irrigation) to move the insecticide through mulch materials to the hiding places underneath. Insecticides available for this use by homeowners in Iowa include carbaryl (Sevin), cyfluthrin, permethrin and several more.

See also:  How to Prepare for Pest Control Service

Do you live in Iowa and have an insect you would like identified?

The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic will identify your insect, provide information on what it eats, life cycle, and if it is a pest the best ways to manage them. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on preserving and mailing insects.


Earwig: the danger of an ordinary dvukhvostok for a person

Not many people know that the earwig insect is the most common dvuvostok. Dvuvostok in large numbers can be found in gardens, gardens, and sometimes in residential areas.

About this insect goes a lot of frightening rumors. Dvuvostok is considered poisonous, capable of killing a person, namely: crawl into his ear, bite through the membrane and suck the brain.

But all this is nothing more than myths. What really is an earwig? What does it eat, how does it reproduce, and what harm does it cause?

Reproduction and species of insect

Earwig (Dermaptera lat.) refers to the order of the leather-winged insects with incomplete metamorphosis (the absence of the pupal stage in insects). This is a small insect about 2-3 x centimeters long, of a brown color. The name of its insect was due to its tail with two claws (toothed forceps) at the end.

The shape of the tail resembles the beautician’s forceps, through which pierced the ears of women. It has a pair of short wings, but flies very rarely. On the head are eyes, mustaches and powerful jaws. Earworm is afraid of daylight, is nocturnal.


Fertilization dvuvostok usually occurs in late summer.

Fertilized females hibernate in the soil in previously prepared nests. Eggs usually occur in the spring, but sometimes in the fall, in which case the female winters in the nest together with laid eggs.

The male is also in the same nest with the female, but rarely survives until the onset of spring.

Having laid the eggs, (one clutch contains from 40 to 100 eggs), the female is constantly near the future offspring, protecting the eggs from the encroachments of uninvited guests for the entire period of their maturation until the appearance of larvae.

Larvae from adults differ in the size of the body and the absence of wings. A gradual transformation takes place as a molder, until the earwig turns into an adult insect.

Read useful materials about the Colorado potato beetle, cockchafer, bear, ants, spider mites, peppered moth, locusts, slugs, butterfly moth, aphids and thrips.

Earwigs representatives

Worldwide, there are about one and a half thousand species of this insect.

Here are some of them.:


It reaches a length of 1.5-2 cm, has a dark brown color and strongly developed muscles. Cleverly uses ticks, is able to seize and hold prey, and also to defend himself like a spear.

Leads mostly nocturnal, hides during the day, gets food at night. The diet depends on the habitat: plant food, tree fungi, small insects.

It is distributed throughout the world and lives in a variety of climatic and natural zones. Soil type is important — sandy and super sandy soils along the banks of rivers, lakes and seas, as well as in forest belts.

Small earwig.

The smallest representative of this family. It is distributed everywhere, in length does not exceed 6.5 mm. Distinctive feature — leads daytime life.

It has a bright color — black with yellow spots in the elytra zone. It has strongly curved mites and leads a daytime lifestyle.

As the name implies — lives in Asian regions. Can migrate, making flights. At low speeds, the height of movement can be up to 100 meters, the duration of such mass flights is two weeks.

The species, completely lost its wings, lives high in the mountains, in the forests of the subalpine belt.

Central Asian earwig

It differs from other species due to the specifics of its habitat. He lives in caves, where he is completely devoid of sunlight. As a result, there is practically no vision, the limbs and antennae are greatly elongated, the pigmentation of the outer integuments is very pale.

Indo-Malay species earwigs. They live in caves, and some subspecies are able to parasitize on their neighbors — bats. Outwardly, they resemble the larvae more, the wings are completely absent, the claws are very weak, the vision is poor, and the body is covered with dense vegetation.

It lives in tropical Africa. This species belongs to parasites, as it lives mainly on the skin of a hamster rat. There is no vision, short limbs and no wings. A distinctive feature — the eggs develop into larvae directly in the body of the female. Some scientists propose to isolate these insects in a separate unit and not consider them earwigs.


These insects are unpretentious and omnivorous. Favorite foods are fruits, vegetables, plants, especially garden flowers.

They do not disdain the remains of small insects. Often, in search of food, they can crawl into a dwelling house, where they feed on food debris from the table, destroy indoor plants, can crawl into a wardrobe and damage clothing.

Earwigs do not like daylight, crawling out in search of food at night. During the day they gather in a pile under the bark of trees, in the crevices of the boards, under stones, preferring dark and wet shelters.

In the houses they can be found in bathrooms, toilets, basements.

Is it dangerous for humans?

Earwig: the danger to humans? All chilling stories about the cunning of a dvuvostok, which can destroy a person by penetrating his ear and damaging the brain is nothing more than fiction.

Of course, she could crawl into some summer resident’s ear if he suddenly wanted to take a nap right on the ground. What will happen if an earwig gets into my ear? The insect does not pose any danger to the ear and brain.

In this case, do not panic, and if possible, immediately contact a doctor and he will remove the unfortunate bug out.

The harm and benefits of earwigs

these small insects cause considerable damage to gardens, orchards, apiaries, eating plants, fruits, berries and flower petals (especially roses and dahlias suffer from them). Destroy stocks of bees in the hives. With a large cluster on the site can clean up the young seedlings cleaned.

In the arid period, dvuchostok cause serious damage to fruit trees, nibbling the tips of the leaves and undermining their roots.

But there are from dvostok and benefit. Eating fallen fruits and berries, the remains of small insects, earwigs act as orderlies of garden plots, clearing them from rot. By feeding on spider mites and aphids, they help plants that suffer from these parasites to survive.

See also:  How to Apply Nematodes to Control Grubs

Read all about wild rats, shrew, moles, bats and mice, gophers, wild hamsters. And also about ways to combat wireworm, locust, whitefly, sawfly and carrot fly.

Methods of struggle

In the garden or in the garden

  • Pour boiling water over insects;
  • spread out the traps in the form of wet rags, on which dvuhvostok will gather, then destroy the traps;
  • dig a lot deep in the fall to help reduce unwanted guests next year;
  • earwigs are afraid of the smell of vinegar, you need to spread on the site soaked with vinegar sponges for washing dishes.

In the House

  • Thoroughly clean the room, plug all the cracks and eliminate all leaking pipes so that there are no damp places in the house so beloved by earwigs;
  • lay out food baits (bran, tough egg yolk) mixed with an insecticide or common boric acid;

CAUTION! Lures spread out in places not accessible to children and animals.

That’s all the necessary information about all the advantages and disadvantages of earwigs. The appearance of this insect is not quite acceptable, maybe because of earwigs and so many terrible rumors.

We bring to your attention a video about the invasion of earwigs:


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European Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the European Earwig.

Updated: 8/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content В©www.InsectIdentification.org

The exotic European Earwig has made North America its new home, comfortably living in a variety of habitats from coast to coast.

Contrary to popular belief, earwigs do not crawl into human ears to make nests or lay eggs. They also do not bite or pinch people on the ear. In fact, bug literature about earwigs states that they are harmless to people. It is believed that the name for this insect was intended to be «earwing» because of the shape of the wing, but somehow the ‘n’ was dropped and a mythology about the insect was created.

Testimonies of those who have been bitten or pinched by them exist, but their pincers are not intended for use against humans. Their pincers are designed for use in defense against other earwigs (males fighting for females) as well as against predators in self-defense. The pincers also help the earwig fold its wings to close them.

They do have wings, but rarely fly. European Earwigs have a dark brown or red body. Legs are yellow. The pincers are at the end of the abdomen and are also dark. They curve inward, like old-fashioned calipers. Adults of this species tend hide under objects by day, and sometimes in clusters. Lifting rocks, logs, and BBQ grill covers may reveal a group of them. They can crawl into small covered spaces like wall-mounted exterior garage door openers and electrical outlets, startling the unsuspecting human that flips the lid.

They are considered somewhat beneficial in gardens because they eat aphids. However, if insect prey is scarce, they may eat the roots of planted flowers (in containers as well as in ground). They will also nibble on the flower blossoms of fruits and vegetables, making the produce inedible. In such a case, they become pests. Their population numbers swelled so rapidly in Portland, Oregon back in 1924 that the city declared a state of emergency. The European Earwig was decimating the states’ crop and fruit tree harvest and measures were taken to eradicate them from the area. These days, they are not likely to pose such a threat and are mostly contained in backyards.


Ways to Avoid Erectile Dysfunction

Watch Your Weight

Sometimes all those extra pounds can take a toll on your sex life. If you’re obese, you’re more likely to get high cholesterol levels and diabetes, which can lead to erection problems. One study shows that men with a waist size over 40 inches are more likely to have erectile dysfunction. If you want to stay on top of your game, try to keep a healthy weight.

See also:  Home Remedies For Bed Bugs - Do They Work?

Try a Mediterranean Diet

ED is often linked to heart disease, so it makes sense that a heart-healthy diet would be good for your erections, too. Try to cut back on artery-clogging foods like full-fat dairy, fried foods, and red meat. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies, fish, and whole grains. Cleaning up your diet can pay off in the bedroom.

Manage Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can narrow your blood vessels, lessening blood flow through your body. If less flows to your penis you may find it’s not so easy to get an erection. If you don’t check your blood pressure regularly, it’s time to start. You may have high blood pressure and not even know it.

Cut Down High Cholesterol

When cholesterol builds up in your blood vessels, it causes them to narrow, which can slow down your blood flow. That can make it tougher to get or keep an erection. If you’ve got high cholesterol, your doctor can suggest ways to lower it, like medication or a change in your diet.

Get Diabetes Under Control

You might find yourself with ED if you don’t take care of your diabetes. That’s because high blood sugar can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your penis. Talk to your doctor about ways to get your diabetes in check so you can get back in the groove.

If You Smoke, Quit

Need another reason to kick the habit? Here’s one: Men who smoke are twice as likely to have erection problems as men who don’t. Smoking hurts your sex life because it narrows your blood vessels. What’s more, ED medications may not work as well for men who smoke.

If You Drink, Keep It Moderate

Drinking and sex aren’t always a great mix. More than a drink or two can dampen your libido, soften your erection, or make it difficult to have an orgasm. If alcohol is causing your ED, it probably will go away when you cut back on or quit drinking.

Skip Illicit Drugs

Many recreational drugs can lead to erection trouble. Both uppers (like cocaine and amphetamines) and downers (like marijuana and opiates) may cause problems. These drugs often slow down your central nervous system, and some can also damage blood vessels. If you think you have a drug problem, this is just one more reason to seek help.

Get Exercise

It’s good for your sex life in lots of ways. It helps your heart and blood vessels stay healthy, keeps your weight in check, lowers stress, and in general just makes you feel good. And your workout doesn’t even have to be strenuous. A study shows that even a 30-minute walk each day could lower your chance of having ED.

Keep Tabs on Testosterone

Testosterone levels gradually start to fall around age 30 and continue to drop as you get older. If it gets too low, it can affect your sex drive and your ability to get an erection. A simple blood test can tell you if you have low testosterone, and there are plenty of ways to treat it.

Don’t Use Anabolic Steroids

You might not think pumping your body full of extra testosterone to build up muscles would hurt your erections, but it can. All that synthetic T turns off your body’s ability to make its own, which means your problems will start when you quit taking the steroids. You could get a lot of other bad side effects, too, from shrunken testicles to baldness. Your best bet: Stay away from these risky drugs.

Manage Stress

When you’re stressed out from work, relationship problems, or a major life change, your libido can take a hit. And if you end up with ED, you may find it leads to even more anxiety. Cut down your stress levels, and you’ll see benefits in the bedroom.

Treat Sleep Apnea

Research shows a link between the sleep disorder and ED. When you get treated for sleep apnea, you may see improvements in your erection problems as well. So if you think you might have sleep apnea, or if you know you have it and aren’t doing anything about it, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

Know Your Medication Side Effects

Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect for many prescription drugs, such as:

  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Cancer drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Opioid painkillers

If you use any of these medications and start to have erection problems, don’t just stop taking them on your own. Talk to your doctor about possible fixes.

Be Proactive

It’s not unusual to have trouble getting an erection once in a while, but if it starts happening more often, don’t ignore it. Talk to your doctor. You might have a health problem that’s causing it. The sooner you deal with it, the sooner your sex life will be back on track.

Up Next

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Cleveland Clinic: «Erectile Dysfunction: Waist Size Matters,» «Low Testosterone (Male Hypogonadism),» «Medications That May Cause Erectile Dysfunction.»

Circulation: «Cardiovascular Implications of Erectile Dysfunction.»

Harvard Health Publications: «5 natural ways to overcome erectile dysfunction.»

Indian Journal of Psychiatry: «Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence.»

International Journal of Impotence Research: «Anxiety and erectile dysfunction: a global approach to ED enhances results and quality of life.»

Mayo Clinic: «Erectile dysfunction,» «Erectile dysfunction and diabetes: Take control today,» «High blood pressure and sex: Overcome the challenges,» «High Cholesterol,» «Performance-enhancing drugs: Know the risks.»

Medscape: «Tobacco Education: Emphasizing Impotence as a Consequence of Smoking.»

National Sleep Foundation: «Possible Link Between Sleep Apnea and Erectile Dysfunction.»

Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski: «Obesity — significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men.»

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on March 01, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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