Earwig Bites: 6 Common Symptoms, 5 Treatment Steps & 6 Useful Control Methods

Earwigs are insects that belong to the order Dermaptera. They are minuscule and yet horrid looking bug. An adult earwig varies from 5-25mm in size. They consist of two pairs of wings and pincers on the back of their abdomens that make them look scary. You can also call the pincers forceps and earwigs use them to catch their prey and protect themselves from other creatures.

These little creatures are nocturnal in nature that they are active mostly at night time. Also, they are omnivorous that they can eat plants and live on other insects as well.

Earwig bites mark on a woman's neck.
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As the name depicts, “earwigs,” many people have certain myths that these insects live inside the human ear and get their feed. Whereas some people also have strange thoughts that this insect attacks the brain. Well, you see it is not always right, any insect can get inside your ear even the ants. These horror film type assumptions and accusations have made this bug scary and dangerous in our eyes.

What causes earwig bites?

Many people misunderstand these insects to be dangerous. People have a misconception that earwigs bite and it can be pretty fatal. However, this is not true. They have pincers on the back of their abdomens which they use for their defense. When we disturb their activity or try to catch them, in their self-defense, they insert the pincers into human skin. We called them earwig bites, and they are not deadly for people. These bites are common just like mosquito and ant bite.

Most of the people do not even feel the pain when they bite. In the case of adult earwigs, they bite or more probably the pinch can be quite painful but it is bearable. Also, while biting, they do not leave any venom in the skin. However, the bite breaks the skin, and there may be a drop of blood oozing out of the wound otherwise it just breaks the skin. You should keep one thing in mind that these bites can cause some infections. For, the earwigs mostly live in soil, so there are high chances that while biting you they transfer many germs.

Symptoms of earwig bites

Many people misunderstand the mosquito bites to be earwig bits. These are not exactly same there’s a difference between them. The only way to differentiate between them is from their symptoms. Earwig symptoms may vary from person to person depending upon the immune system. To some people, there might not be any obvious symptoms or even proper marks while for others, the marks are clear and different. However, here are some common symptoms that are mostly visible after earwig bite.

Looks of earwig bites on human's foot.
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  • Since the earwigs had forceps so after biting you, you might notice the two red marks on the surface of your skin. These marks are quietly distinct from each other, and there’ll be a slight distance between both.
  • If the bug has bitten you too hard and you felt the pain, there might be a little amount of blood oozing out of your skin.
  • There can be redness and inflammation around the earwig bite.
  • You will also fell itching around the area where the earwig has bitten you.
  • If you do not take measures quickly, there can be infection around the bitten area, and in the worst case, it can lead to some serious swelling.
  • You may also have to face cellulitis. It is a condition in which there can be an infection in the surrounding area of the wound. Furthermore, it can turn more red and swollen; also the skin will be hot as compared to other parts of the body.

These were the few symptoms; there can be other as well. If you feel anything serious them, you must not wait for it to heal, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Earwig bite treatment

To treat something, firstly you must be sure about the occurrence of the disease. From symptoms mentioned above, you can easily find if the bite is earwig bite or not. Once you are confirmed, that it is earwig bite, you must quickly treat it. Failing to do so may cause some serious issues. You can treat the earwig bite by following ways.

1. Wash the area

When the earwig bites you, make sure you wash the area quickly with water and soap. It will wash away all the germs and bacteria that earwig might have transfer while biting. As you know that these insects live in soil, so, there are high chances of carrying bacteria and infections.

Ice pack isolated on white background.
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2. Put an ice pack

When the earwig bites, the infected skin can swell and become hot as compared to other parts of the body. In that case putting an ice pack is the best option. Ice will help in lowering the temperature and also the reddishness caused by the bite. If you feel itching and irritation, the ice pack will also contribute to curing that.

3. Dry the skin and apply ointment

After putting the ice pack, if you still feel itching then dry your skin with a towel or any soft cloth. Once the skin id completely dry, apply ant-itch ointment on the wound. You can easily get anti-itching ointment from your nearby medical store in case you do not have any in your first aid box.

4. Use hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin

hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin are anti-infective and antibiotics respectively. After washing the wound, you can apply hydrogen peroxide to avoid any infections. If you have an open wound, then do not apply directly. Apply only to the injury. You can use Neosporin on the wound; it will help in healing more quickly.

5. Consult doctor

The treatments mentioned above are in the case when you are well aware of the described symptoms. If you feel that the symptoms are different from the ones that are mentioned above, then you should not do anything on your own. Consult the doctor immediately; there might be some serious issues. In the case of delay in medical help, you can have some serious infection.

Earwig control

Precaution is better than cure. If you have prevented these tiny bugs, you would not have to get the earwig bites and hence treat them. So if you want to keep yourself from these little creatures, you must learn to control them. There are multiple ways in which you can prevent these animals from living near your place.

1. Keep the earwig infested area dry

To control earwigs, you must keep your place clean and tidy. If you have doubt that these bugs plague some area, then you must keep that place dry. These insects mostly live in a moist place so to prevent their reproduction maintain the area dry and clean.

Dispose of decaying plants by a shovel.
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2. Dispose of decaying plants

Plants are the preferred diet of an earwig. Having the decaying plant at your place can attract earwigs as well as other insects. To prevent their growth, you must check your gardens timely. If there are any decaying plants, dispose of them instantly. For, these plants can also affect the healthy plants.

3. Close your doors and windows at night

Earwigs are nocturnal insects. Therefore, they are more active at night. The only way for them to enter your home is through open doors and windows. When lying down at night, double check if all the windows and doors are closed properly or not. You must not provide these bugs an ease to enter your home and disturb your sleep.

4. Use boric acid in slits of doors and other entrances

Boric acid is very effective in getting rid of earwigs. Prepare a mixture of water and borax and fill the holes, slots and other openings through which they might enter into your homes. Once every possible way of entering your place is sealed you can live peacefully without fear of these bugs.  Borax or boric acid is readily available on the market.

5. Use a vacuum to dispose of them

The other way by which you can prevent the earwig from invading your place is by vacuuming. Since these insects are tiny in size so while cleaning, we often ignore their presence unintentionally. So you make sure that you use vacuum daily to dispose of them. If there are any bugs hidden in the fur of carpet or the corners of rooms, they can be caught by the vacuum.

6. Use chemical sprays

Using chemical sprays regularly will help in keeping the bugs away from your place. It is not necessary that you should only spray in your homes. Also, you must spray properly in your garden, lawns and the area nearby your house. These chemical sprays kill not only the earwigs but also other insects.

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