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Common Name:  Earwig

Scientific Name:  Order Dermaptera, several families and species

Size:  Adult - 1 1/8"

Identification:  Primitive insects with very large pincers in the rear. Usually brown or reddish brown, sometimes with wings.

Biology and life cycle:  Adults lay eggs in the soil from winter through early spring. Nymphs feed on green shoots and plant foliage. Adults like the taste of flowers best; they smell bad when crushed. Nymphs pass through several instars before becoming adults. Eggs are white and round. Two generations per year usually. They over winter in the egg stage. Incomplete metamorphosis.

Habitat:  Normal habitat is in ground litter, in soil, under bark, and in crevices, but they will invade homes. They also like young sprouts, flowers, and fruit trees.

Feeding habits:  Feed on decaying organic matter, fruit, foliage, mosses, and other insects. They come into homes especially during warm weather. Night feeders primarily as well as scavengers. You may notice some working around your compost pile.

Economic importance:  Earwigs feed on troublesome insect larvae, slugs, and snails, although some do eat food crops and the flowers of ornamental plants.

Natural control:  Tachinid flies, spiders, ground beetles, and centipedes.

Organic control:  Citrus products will kill them. ​​​​​​​Even though they are basically beneficial, spray with Orange oil or d-limonene at 2 ounces per gallon of water or stronger if spray is not to be used on plants. Insight: They don't bite, but they do stink! Contrary to the folklore, they don't crawl into your ears. The pincers are used for defense.


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