The Ultimate Earwig Bite Survival Guide: Symptoms and Solutions

 Bite Survival Guide Symptoms and Solutions

Ever felt an unforeseen nip and kicked around the idea if an earwig was the culprit? Overlook the myths, earwigs aren’t bloodthirsty monsters! Prepare to be astonished by the awe-inspiring realm of these misunderstood critters. From their pincer-wielding antics to their surprisingly sweet maternal instincts, we’re going to debunk earwig bite myths, unfold their quirky habits and intricate lives. So, grab your magnifying glass and get ready to be amazed!

KingdomPhylumClassOrder FamilyScientific Name
AnimaliaArthropodaInsectaDermapteraForficulidaeForficula auricularia Linnaeus
Taxonomic Classification of Earwig (Forficula auricularia Linnaeus)

Origin and Evolution

Evolutionary History

In conjunction with earwig history, extinct suborders Archidermaptera (Late Triassic) and Eodermaptera (Middle Jurassic) are thought to be ancestors, sharing key attributes like cerci and forewings. Fossils propose diversification from ancestral insect groups around 208 million years back.

Genetic Composition

Earwigs are affiliated with the order Dermaptera within insect class Polyneoptera. Karyotype differs but typically 2n = 24 chromosomes (haploid 12). Contemporary studies pointed out 10,916 protein-coding genes in the common earwig (Forficula auricularia).

Earwig Distribution

With respect to earwig distribution, it’s found on all continents except Antarctica, with highest diversity in tropical and subtropical regions. It’s commonly located in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.

Speaking of earwig historical range, fossil evidence implies that these creatures originated in the Triassic period (252-201 million years ago) and stretched worldwide in the course of the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods (145-66 million years ago).


Continent(s) Found on all continents except Antarctica
Subcontinents Various subcontinents within found continents, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia
Bio-geographical Realms Various realms like the Palearctic, Nearctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical, Oriental, and Australasian
Biome Diverse habitat preferences, including forests, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, and even urban environments  
Climate ZonesAdaptable to a range of climates, from temperate to tropical and subtropical  


 Habitat -Bite

Habitat Preferences

Concerning earwig habitat preferences, the species is astonishingly adaptable, thriving in diverse ecosystems. The most common haunts encompass: forests, grasslands, caves, deserts, and Aquatic environments. Within its prioritized ecosystems, this pincher bug favor particular microhabitats, including moist areas, dark spaces and food-rich environments.

Habitat Utilization Patterns

While these creatures are not migratory, some species showcase seasonal shifts within their habitats. During spring and summer, an increased activity is recorded near the soil surface for mating, egg-laying and foraging. Over the span of autumn and winter, they engage in deeper burrowing or seeking sheltered spots to avoid harsh weather and predators.

5 Earwig Fun Facts

  • While most earwigs stick to land, some adventurous species like Anisolabis maritima have conquered the water!
  • Some earwigs like Speleodesmus infernalis have traded in leaves for dripping stalactites!
  • Some clever species like Anisolabis annulipes have constructed alliances with termites, living within their mounds for protection.
  • Though they’re equipped with wings, earwigs might stun you with their lack of time in the sky.
  • There’re more than 2,000 species of earwigs around the world; over 20 types are present in the United States.



Physical Characteristics

Beyond their quirky reputation lies a fascinating array of physical characteristic of earwig that reveal a surprisingly distinct and adaptable insect.

  • Size and Shape: Speaking of earwig size, they come from European earwig at a sole 12mm (1/2 inch) to the astonishingly long Saint Helena earwig, reaching up to 80mm (3inches). Their majestic bodies are normally elongated and flattened, letting them squeeze into tight crevices and hide from predators.
  • Color: When it comes to earwig color, a coat of dark brown, reddish brown or black they generally feature; in addition, some species boast vibrant orange or yellow markings, for instance, the Anisolabis maritima sports a striking yellow body with black stripes, identical to a tiny bumblebee.
  • Markings: With respect to earwig markings, some species boast complex patterns and speckles. The Common ringed earwig lives up to its name with unparalleled yellow bands embellishing its abdomen.

Sexual Dimorphism

Male earwigs typically feature larger and more curved cerci, in many moons even asymmetrical, adding to their formidable look. Contrarily, female earwigs tend to possess smaller and straighter cerci, oftentimes with teeth or notches along their edge. Their bodies are generally slimmer and their heads smaller than their male counterparts.

Ontogenetic Development

Speaking of earwig eggs, they lay pearly white, oval-shaped eggs oftentimes tucked away in moist and shielded environments. Upon hatching, tiny nymphs appear, resembling miniature versions of the adults but lacking wings. Eventually, the nymphs shed their exoskeletons on last time, appearing as fully fledged adults, endowed with wings – though hardly used for flight.


Color(s) Yellow, tan
TongueEarwigs have mandibulate mouthparts; the labrum and labium form the “tongue-like” structure.
Claws Pincer-like structures at the end of the abdomen, called cerci
Mouth Chewing mouthparts consisting of mandibles
Feet Three pairs of legs ending in claws
Skeleton External exoskeleton made of chitin

The scorpion and earwig, despite their distinct appearances, share a common feature in their use of formidable pincers, employed for defense and predation.

Earwig Bites

Earwig Bite

Earwigs oftentimes inspire fear and apprehension. One major concern? The dreaded earwig bite. As per Entomological Society of America (ESA), earwigs, sometimes mistakenly called earwigs because of a myth that they crawl into ears, are fascinating insects with elongated bodies and unique pincers on their rear ends. But before you get panic, take hold, let’s dive into the awe-inspiring realm of earwig bites, untying myths from realities.

Myths and Realities

In conjunction with earwig bite myths, they crawl into ears and lay eggs in brains. This gruesome myth, gratefully is pure fiction. Earwig bites are venomous and lead to serious illness. Thankfully, these creatures lack venom glands and their bites bring about no major health issues. Speaking of earwig bite reality, they can pinch with their forceps. While seldom, they may pinch if threatened or accidentally squished.

Anatomy of the Earwig Bite

Pincher bugs are not endowed with biting mouthparts. Instead, they depend on their pincers (cerci) for defense and prey capture. These pincers are more conspicuous in males and can deliver a sharp pinch, leaving reddish marks on the skin.

Earwig Bite Symptoms

The most prevalent symptom of an earwig pinch is localized redness and swelling around the pinch site – the earwig bite mark. Within a few hours, this normally subsides. The pinch may lead to a localized tingling or burning sensation, which should fade rapidly too. The pincers, occasionally, may break the skin and cause minor bleeding.

Treatment and First Aid

With respect to earwig bite treatment, if you find yourself on the receiving end of an earwig pinch, there is no need to panic. Here’s what you should do:

  • Wash the respective area gently with soap and water.
  • Apply a cool compress to decline swelling and discomfort.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection if the skin is broken.
  • Monitor properly the area for signs of infection, such as escalating redness, pus or fever. If you experience any of these earwig bite symptoms, it’s time to consult a doctor.

Prevention Strategies

Though earwig bites are seldom a cause for concern, it’s still wise to consider earwig bite prevention strategies:

  • Reduce earwig populations around your home and garden.
  • Wear gloves while gardening or handling mulch, where these creatures may be hiding.
  • Shake out properly clothes and bedding before use as they may crawl in for shelter.

Reproduction and Life Cycles

 Reproduction and Life Cycles

Mating System

Earwig mating system is of a diverse range, adapting to distinct environmental pressures and ensuring successful reproduction.

  • Monogamy: A few species, like the European earwig, construct monogamous pairs, where male and female stay together to shield their eggs and protect their offspring.
  • Polygamy: Some species, like the Common ringed earwig, engage in polygamy, whereby males mate with multiple females.
  • Polyandry: Other species, like Labidura riparia earwig, where females may even mate with multiple male.

Reproductive Biology

The earwig breeding season typically occurs in the fall and winter months – when temperatures are cooler and moisture is abundant. Some earwig mothers, unlike most insects, feature amazing levels of parental care. They conscientiously guard their eggs, clean them to prevent mold growth and even relocate them. Female earwigs invest heavily in reproduction, laying comparatively few eggs (20 – 80) in contrast with other insects.

Gestation Period

The earwig gestation period differs contingent upon species and environmental conditions. To hatch, eggs typically take 6 to 17 days, nestled safely within a dedicatedly created chamber by the mother.

Life Cycle Stages

These species undergo a simple metamorphosis, that is, they don’t have a pupal stage like butterflies. Earwig life cycle involves three different stages:

  • Egg: It’s pearly white oval-shaped, laid in protected environments.
  • Nymph: It includes tiny versions of adults, hatching with smaller cerci; earwig wings don’t appear at this level.
  • Adult: At this stage, they’re full developed individuals with functional wings, conspicuous cerci and reproductive organs.

Mating Habits

Mating BehaviorMale uses pincers to attract and subdue female
Reproduction SeasonSpring and summer months, typically May to September, depending on region and species.
Litter SizeVaries but generally between 20 and 60 eggs. Some species can lay up to 100 eggs!
Gestation PeriodAround 4-6 weeks, depending on species and environmental factors.
Baby CarryingFemale cares for eggs by tucking them under her abdomen or in specially prepared burrows.
Independent AgeNymphs (baby earwigs) hatch become independent within 4-6 weeks.
Baby Name Nymphs

Diet and Lifestyle

 Life Cycle Stages

Feeding Ecology

While earwigs (Forficula auricularia Linnaeus) oftentimes typified as herbivores, they’re, actually, omnivores, with a touch of both plant and animal matter. Earwig diet varies built upon species and habitat; let’s have a look:

  • Predators: A number of earwig species, for instance, the Common earwig, actively hunt and consume small insects, mites and even aphids.
  • Scavengers: The species readily scavenge on decaying organic matter, encompassing fallen leaves, fruits and dung.
  • Herbivores: A few earwig species, like the Ringed earwig, feed chiefly on soft plant tissues, such as petals, leaves and fruits.

Foraging Strategies

Speaking of earwig foraging strategies, there’re various tactics they engage in to locate and secure their meals:

  • Nocturnal Hunters: The major portion of earwig species are nocturnal, appearing under the cover of darkness.
  • Opportunistic Scavengers: In the course of the day, earwigs hide in damp crevices and under debris.
  • Cooperative Feeding: Some species, like the Social earwig, showcase cooperative feeding behavior, working in groups to capture and share prey.

Diurnal Activity Patterns

The majority of earwig species, like European earwig, are most active at night, while a few species, like the Mole cricket earwig, are most active over the span of twilight hours. There’re some other species, like the Greenhouse earwig, that can be active even during the day, specifically in shady and humid environments.

Social Structure

Earwigs, defying the stereotype of solitary insects, feature a diverse range of social behaviors: many species, like the Common earwig, prefer solitary lives; a few species, like the Saint Helena earwig, are fiercely territorial, defending their food sources; some earwig species, notwithstanding, live in social colonies, sharing shelters and food resources, like the Social earwig (Anisolabis maritima).

Threats and Conservation

Earwigs play an indespensibe roles in ecosystems and deserve our attention. Regrettably, like many species they face various threats that entail conservation efforts. In conjunction with the earwig conservation status, most of earwig species are classified as “Extinct” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Relationship with Humans

Cultural Significance and Symbolism

Through multiple symbolic interpretations, earwigs have woven themselves into the fabric of human cultures:

  • Mythology: In ancient Greece, these creatures were intertwined with the goddess Hecate – the protector of crossroads and doorways.
  • Folklore: European folklore oftentimes featured earwigs as mischievous creatures crawling into ears and laying eggs in brains, which is nothing but a fiction as I unfolded earlier in this piece of construct.
  • Art and Literature: The species appear in exhibitions and paintings and even find their way into literary works like Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

In some cultures, these earwigs are strikingly regarded lucky charms. For instance, in Japan, locating an earwig is thought to fetch good fortune in gambling.

Economic Importance

In some parts of Southeast Asia and Latin America, earwigs are considered a delicacy and eaten fried or roasted. Contemporary studies propose potential medical applications for earwig extracts. No doubt, the creatures may once in a blue moon nibble on garden plants, they also prey on harmful insects like aphids and mites, contributing to natural pest control in gardens and agricultural fields.

Unique Characteristics

Forge a path through an intriguing journey as we unfold fascinating facts about earwigs – truly captivating animals that start with E. Join us in shedding light on their remarkable rundown!

Common NameEarwig
Other Name(s)Pincher bugs
Number of Species 2,000
Population Size Variable, influenced by species and environment
Lifespan Several months to a year, depending on the species and environmental factors
Weight 2g – 5g (0.07oz – 0.1oz)
Length 1cm – 3cm (0.4in – 1.2in)
WingspanEuropean earwig can have a wingspan of around 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 inches)
Predator Toads, Birds, Beetles
Prey Plants, Flowers, Insects
Most Distinctive FeatureSharp pincers and delicate wings


Since earwigs are drawn to dark, damp places, it is likely that they are finding a place to live within your home if you locate one. Your home’s structural integrity may be compromised by water damage.

An earwig might bite if it felt threatened, although this is unlikely. A bite from an earwig cannot result in significant harm because they are not poisonous. Earwigs favor using their pinchers for attack.

Earwigs can look like scary bugs due to their menacing forceps, or pincers that protrude from the belly. This is a false impression. If they become irritated, earwigs can use their forceps to hold onto a finger, although they are not dangerous.

The term “earwig” comes from an old folktale that claims earwigs consume the brains of people who are asleep by burrowing through the external auditory canal. Earwigs are insects belonging to the order Dermaptera. Even though this myth was disproved, earwigs can occasionally get inside the ear.

Earwigs can fly, but they don’t do so very often. Rather, they would rather ride along on flowers, bags, newspapers, and even fruits or vegetables.

Mudassar Ahmad

He is a seasoned blogger since 2012 and an M.Phil graduate in English Linguistics. He captivates readers with his eloquent prose and insightful perspectives. His passion for language and dedication to crafting compelling content make him a trusted voice in the online sphere. Explore the world through Ahmad's literary lens.

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