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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/is this an earwig bite?


Judy Mai wrote at 2009-07-23 16:18:04
I am the health officer at a Bible Camp and I have had several campers bitten or pinched or something by earwigs. One counselor showed me a nasty bite that looked a little like a mosquito bite but bigger with a tiny red wound in the middle that then turned white. We found an ear wig in her jeans right after she got bit. I have talked to several people here and elsewhere that are convinced they were bitten by ear wigs. I know they don't really crawl in your ear to lay eggs in your brain, but I think they bite if they get in your clothes. Judy

ValRMN wrote at 2009-08-06 10:39:16
I just got "bitten" by an earwig in my garden - felt a sharp pain on my forearm, looked and there was the little critter with its pincers embedded in my skin!  I never knew they could bite till now! I brushed it off quickly but not soon enough to stop  it leaving THREE tiny pinpricks - which did hurt!  I wonder what it would have done if I'd left it alone!  There's no swelling or anything though, just a pink area round the punctures and it's not itching or sore.  I will keep an eye on it to see if anythign else develops but it is just like a superficial skin prick, so I don't think that's what got your baby!  Val - UK

Joe wrote at 2009-08-11 07:57:17
I sympathize with you. I live in Arvada, and I've never seen so many earwigs in my life as I have this year. My wife found one in her towel as she was getting out of the shower this evening. She's 9 months pregnant and she actually ran out of the bathroom. After one of the big storms, a rotten limb fell out of our maple tree. I was cutting it up and 1 by 1, about 30 of them went scurrying for cover. I hope your son gets better. Take care.

crb wrote at 2009-08-19 23:14:07
I was at the beach a few nights ago and after feeling a pinch on my ankle, looked down to see that we were surrounded by earwigs.  They were NOT happy!  Since then, I have found at least a half dozen marks on my leg with a similar description- red, slightly sore and turning a bit white at the center.  I'd love to know if the itching got worse.  Not sure if I need to worry about them.

Amy Turner wrote at 2010-03-26 19:39:14
You might want to think about bed bugs.  They are making a come-back in the US and the bites look a lot like in the picture.  I am dealing with this first hand right now...    good luck!

Lee wrote at 2010-05-15 05:34:56
If the bite has a small white head, it might be a flea bite. They can be in the grass outside and can travel into your house on your clothes even if you have no pets. Some people in your house may be susceptible to bites while others aren't.

worstr wrote at 2010-06-29 12:57:54
I disagree.  Last night I had one in my bed and was awakened by it pinching me.  I picked it up and discarded it into the trash.  It left three marks on my skin that are painful.  It scraped off the top layer of skin in three places.  It feels tender.  You can tell exactly where it was trying to use the pinchers.  The ski is very raw.  I am going to treat it with bacitracin.

Jennifer wrote at 2010-07-19 05:26:34
I was just bitten/pinched by an earwig about a half hour ago and right now it looks a lot like a mosquito bite.

Fermin wrote at 2010-08-11 07:07:24
When I was bitten by an earwig, I got a huge blister on my little finger. I thought nuthing of it, I just popped the blister and washed it. and treated it with rubbing alchol. I was fine, it's a non toxic bite.

Lily wrote at 2011-05-14 15:16:04
For sure earwigs bite ! My two year old son goes through the same thing. Big blister like hard bumps on his feet and hands. Every night earwigs come for a bite of him! And don't tell me they don't bite. What are these pink quarter size bites? Kisses?

rachel wrote at 2011-06-20 20:54:00
im not so sure this lisa is right i have the same marks on my arm and my side and we also have earwigs i see at least 5 a day i went to the hospital cause they itched really bad and they didnt know what it was but they gave me a steriod shot and the itching went away and so did the spots after awhile

sigilvii wrote at 2012-04-25 16:15:13
Certainly not earwigs.  As stated above, earwigs do not bite.  

Common biting insects in the home would be fleas or bedbugs.  It could be mosquitoes if your son had been outside much in the evening.  It could also be a spider but that doesn't really account for the multiple bites (because spiders would only bite a person in defense, not for food).  

I know this question is old, but I wanted to toss my two cents in.  I hope everything went well.  I'm glad to see you were using boric acid to control your pest problem, rather than something potentially more toxic.  Take care!

H.K. wrote at 2012-05-23 05:50:56
Earwigs definitely DO bite. I've learned it hard way, because of so many people posted misleading information on the internet ( that earwigs don't bite.) What I find strange though, is that it seems that they carefully choose their victims at night; they don't bite just everyone! They were biting my son when he was young, when he got older - no more bites. They still bite me with impunity though, if they find their way in the apartment ( we live on the first floor.) When I have guests sleeping over though - they don't have any bites. The gul who moved in our old apartment however gets the same kind of bites I do in summer time.

This is what earwigs bite looks like: ( I took the description from another site, because it's very accurate.)

There will be two red marks from where the forceps have stung into your body.

If you've been stung/pinched/bitten really hard then you might even bleed.

The area around the bite will be red and swollen.

The earwig bite will begin to itch and scratch.

In some cases (especially if the forceps of the earwig bug have broken and remained embedded in your skin) the area around the bite will swell and become hard.

If not treated, over time, it will turn into a blister and there are chances of it getting septic.

So if it's TWO DOTS ( and third dot a bit apart, sometimes not even noticeable) - those are definitely earwig bites.

If you have allergic reaction, they might be swollen real bad. And the itch stays with you for long-long time.  

angelleigh wrote at 2012-05-31 19:48:43
I can sympathize with you on the earwig pinches.

I just came to California about 3 days ago. Yesterday I woke up to find behind my right ear swollen and itching. Today I have about 9 spots that look like mosquito bites on my side. Then I found an earwig in my bed of all places.

I am highly allergic to anything that bites, stings, and obviously that pinches.

I had to get a shot and a topical ointment to stop the itching.

No; it doesn't hurt but is very agitating.

SA-US-MA wrote at 2013-07-12 16:12:24
earwigs DO BITE. there are no other bugs in my home but the earwigs. my 22 month old has habbit of falling asleep on floor for her nap. woke up with red bites hard white center like described on other sites. nobody else in my home has gotten bitten so that says right there that it couldnt be bed bugs or fleas. cause the rest of us would be getting bitten.  

victum wrote at 2013-07-29 20:46:21
hello : i had 2 earwigs crawling on me at the same time !No kleenex so l tried to pinch it with my fingers . We have found in bed too .I woke up next morning with purple swollen finger around my fingernail ,I have had a painfull finger for two weeks now.No sign of bite marks or bleeding but i sure know the cause .I guess i'll go to doctor before it turns septic. In the end everyone is different,so an earwig bite could be a minor or major problem. Thank You

Amanda wrote at 2013-09-19 00:06:37
its a bed bug bite. there are 3, just like 3 feedings bed bugs partake in. you should look in to it.. seriously

Draven wrote at 2013-12-20 18:18:41
I think the confusion here is the word "bite." Earwigs do not bite, but they do pinch. The pincers on their abdomen can be used to pinch if they feel threatened. However, this "bite" is non-venemous, so there is no chance of an allergic reaction. Like a mosquito bite it will create a small bump through. If part of a pincer was left in the skin (like if one quickly brushed the insect off one's body), the area may swell and blister. Treat the problem as such.

shell wrote at 2015-02-23 23:59:22
I had an earwig in my wetsuit I didn't realise until it was fully on - which would have been entertaining to watch me try to quickly manically take it off in a rush cause that little earwig hurt like hell! now 3 days later I have 3 large bites each with a small bite about 1cm away from then and cause loads of itching, redness and swelling. but only a locallised reaction, no big deal but I will be checking my wetsuit before donning in the future!

Kerrie wrote at 2016-08-08 05:57:02
Bullshit.Earwigs do bite.After I felt a painfull bite on my toe lat night,I looked down,and there sat an earwig.They certainly do bite.To the others that think they don't, I fully disagree. Ouch.  

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Teá Kesting-Handly


I can answer almost any question pertaining to Butterflies, Moths, Fireflies, dragonflies, scorpions, honeybees, wasps, and bumblebees. I specialize in Butterflies, Moths, and Scorpions and I will be able to tell you how to care for it, identifying it, keeping it healthy, and diagnose diseases or fungi infection of any sort (with scorpions, it is more difficult but I will try). I am very good with treating bites and stings, ask if you have any questions regarding that. PLEASE, NO QUESTIONS ABOUT PESTS OR ANYTHING TOO SMALL TO SEE AS I WON'T BE ABLE AND WON'T ANSWER YOU.


I work at the Museum of Science in Boston, Mass. as a Butterfly Garden volunteer. I have studied and raised butterflies and moths since 2003. I had a pet scorpion and usually large assortment of butterflies and moths and have a fair amount of information on all of them. I have successfully bred many species of butterflies and moths and can identify most on the spot. I have experience in treating fungal infections and disease in many insects.

Museum of Science, Boston MA Harvard University's Pierce Labs, Cambridge, MA


High School- 12th Grade Taken a Biology exam at a college advanced level (93/100 final score) Taken an Entomology college final exam at an advanced level (112/114 final score)

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