Earwig Bites: What to Do If You Get an Earwig Bite


There are few animals more fearsome and horrifying than Forficula auricularia, otherwise known as the common earwig. What then could be more terrible than having an earwig bite you? If you are reading this article it is probably because you have recently had first-person experience with earwig bites. Before you read any farther, know that an earwig bite is not life-threatening. However, certain precautions need to be taken if an earwig bites you. The following article will teach you about earwigs and what to do if you get an earwig bite.


Before we outline how to take care of an earwig bite it is appropriate to give a little background information about earwigs and why they bite. If you’re not interested in this and only want to know what to do if you get an earwig bite, skip ahead to the next section “How to take care of an earwig bite”.

Earwigs are a member of the phylum Arthropoda and are a type of insect. The earwig is native to Eurasia but were introduce into the Americas from Europe in the 1900’s and have been considered an invasive pest ever since, both because of earwig bites and for their propensity to decimate domestic plants.

Both male and female earwigs have forceps. Male earwigs have curved forceps while females have straight forceps.

When disturbed earwigs may emit a foul smelling liquid as a self defense mechanism, but as you now probably know, if further threatened, earwigs bite, or more accurately “pinch” with the forceps on their tail ends.

How to take care of an earwig bite

As stated in the section above, an earwig bite is actually a pinch from the forceps which both males and females possess.

In an earwig bite there is not poison exuded so there is no danger that is inherent to an earwig bite in itself. However the forceps of the earwig can be quite strong and an earwig bite may be quite painful and may even induce bleeding.

Therefore the primary risk resulting from an earwig bite is that of infection. Be sure to carefully wash and disinfect the site of your earwig bite. If your earwig bite was administered by a male earwig one of the curved forceps may have broken off underneath your skin (especially if you stepped on it) so be sure to examine the site of the wound for any foreign material.

Preventing Earwig bites

After you have treated your earwig bite, you will probably want to avoid new ones. The best way to avoid earwig bites is to keep earwigs out of your living areas. Earwigs rarely colonize indoors and usually only come inside at night when they are active and it is cold outside. The best way to keep them outside and avoid getting earwig bites is to make sure that all your doors and windows are shut at night and properly sealed as earwigs can crawl through very small spaces. Just being aware of where your stepping will also aid in avoiding another earwig bite.