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Earwigs and Pincher Bugs: Are They the Same? Do Earwigs Bite?

Many insects can damage your property, and some of them are more dangerous than others. One of the most commonly feared bugs are earwigs, so many people do their best to prevent them from getting into their home.

One of the main reasons why people dislike earwigs is their look. Many homeowners claim these bugs have an intimidating look, which makes them appear more dangerous than they actually are. Still, these are bugs that you should always avoid.

Earwigs are also commonly called “pincher bugs,” making several homeowners confused as to what the insect’s real name is. Other people believe earwigs and pincher bugs are two separate insects. On this page, we’re going to go over these insects so that you can learn how to identify them and prevent them from getting into your property.

Are Earwigs and Pincher Bugs the Same?

To answer the question directly: Yes; earwigs and pincher bugs are the same insect. Earwigs are also called pincher bugs because they have a pair of pinchers on their back.

These bugs have gained a bad reputation due to their intimidating looks. However, they’re not as harmful as they seem. Whether you call them earwigs or pincher bugs, there are many easy ways to keep them out of your home, and we’re going to review those methods here.

What Are Earwigs?

An earwig is an insect coming from the “Dermaptera” insect order. These are some of the oldest insects to walk around the earth since they first appeared over 208 million years ago. Currently, there are over 2,000 species across the globe, and they can be mostly found in the Americas and Eurasia.

The most remarkable aspect of an earwig is its body. Aside from having elongated bodies, they have a pair of pinchers on their back, which they use as a defense mechanism against other insects or humans. Some earwig species are born with wings, but they don’t tend to fly.

Typically, earwigs feed on other insects, fungi, moss, and lichens. However, these insects may also feed on greasy food and decaying organic material, meaning they can get to your home if you don’t clean properly.

Why Are These Insects Called “Earwigs”?

These insects have an interesting name, but not everyone knows why they’re called “earwigs.” As it turns out, there was an old belief that these insects could crawl into a person’s ears to lay eggs, but that was proven to be fake.

Instead, earwigs get their name because their unfolded wings are shaped like human ears, so you can rest assured that no earwig is going to crawl up your ear any time soon. While these insects seem dangerous, they’re mostly considered a nuisance.

Do Earwigs Bite?

It’s important to note that earwigs don’t carry any venom on them, and they can’t “bite” people either. If an earwig feels threatened by a person, it’s going to respond by pinching them.

An earwig’s pinchers are unlikely to break a person’s skin, but it can hurt a bit, such as with mosquito bites. While these insects are not dangerous most of the time, they can carry harmful bacteria with them. If you have an open wound and an earwig touches it, you may need to cleanse the wound to avoid further infection.

How to Identify Earwigs 

Identifying earwigs is fairly easy considering their unique look. Typically, these insects range from a brown to red color and have a long and thin body. At the end of an earwig’s body are a pair of pinchers (also called cerci).

Adult earwigs tend to be 5/8th of an inch, so they can be considered medium-sized insects. Depending on the species, an earwig may have wings or not.

Earwigs can seek shelter inside your home under some particular weather conditions. These insects may enter your home through cracks, so you must ensure that your home is secure in all areas to prevent them from getting in.

How to Prevent Earwigs in Your Property

To keep earwigs away from your home, the first thing you need to do is seal and weatherproof any cracks or holes your home may have. Additionally, make sure to seal your windows correctly so that earwigs cannot squeeze their way in.

In case you have an earwig problem in your garden, you may give it proper maintenance to avoid these insects from living there. These maintenance activities include trimming, clearing up weeds, and more.

Finally, ensure that your home is vacuumed and cleaned regularly. Remember that earwigs tend to go for greasy foods in your kitchen, so make sure to remove anything that may attract them.

What to Do If You Already Have Too Many Earwigs in Your Property

If you already have a serious earwig problem, and cleaning doesn’t do anything for you, you may consider calling a pest control specialist to take care of the problem. While earwigs are typically a nuisance bug, they can bring bacteria into your home and scare your children if they see one.

In case you only notice a few of those bugs occasionally, you may remove them out of your property by sweeping them and cleaning your home afterward. However, if the problem keeps going after some time, make sure to request help from a professional.

What Are Some Signs of Earwig Damage?

Noticing an earwig at your home may be easier, but if you have a large garden, you may have a hard time telling whether you have an infestation or not. Here are some signs that may help you identify earwig damage:

You notice your leaves are full of holes or ragged. Typically, earwigs leave leaves partially eaten, meaning you can identify the problem much quicker.

The damaged leaves also have black pellets on them; these may be a sign of earwig excrement.

If you notice some damaged plants in your garden, you can check under their pots. Earwigs usually go there after they’ve eaten your plant’s leaves to seek shelter.


Aside from having an intimidating appearance, earwigs can only be a small nuisance on your property. However, you cannot let a small earwig problem become a serious infestation.

Make sure to take care of your home and garden, and if you notice any signs of severe earwig damage, ensure to take the necessary measures to assess the issue promptly.

If you’re looking for the right team to handle the issue for you, Synergy² is here to help. We provide trusted services throughout the area, so contact us for the best pest control services around.

Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you.  We have over 270 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here at Synergy² Jackson Pest Control!

Barry Pitts, Synergy² Owner

Barry Pitts, Synergy² Owner

Pharmacist and Synergy² Pest owner, Barry Pitts, is a long-time Madison, MS resident with a passion for applying advanced scientific pest principles to pest control services in the Jackson metro area.  Combining exceptional customer service with cutting-edge pest control technology allows Synergy² to provide residents of the Jackson metro area with the highest levels of pest control available today.

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