There are many species of Earwigs. Some can be very harmful to plants, while
others feed off insects and decaying plant matter, leaving live plants alone.
Earwigs are native to most parts of the world, including North and South
America, Africa, Eurasia, Australia and New Zealand. They are very
recognizable by the pincers at the end of the abdomen, at the tail of their
body. Adults grow to about 5/8 to one inch long. They have a reddish-brown
body with six, light brown legs. They have a pair of antenna on their head.
Depending upon species, earwigs diet includes: Aphids, live or dead insects,
mites, soft fruits, corn silk, flowers, soft growing tips of plants, and
An Untrue Myth: Earwigs DO NOT crawl into people ears and then tunnel
into the brain. But, this myth is how it got it's name. They do not attack
humans, nor are they harmful to humans.
Earwig Life Cycle:
Earwigs live for one year. They are primarily nocturnal, and live in damp
dark environments. They would not survive in an arid climate. During the
day, they harbor in dark, damp place, including compost piles, dead plants,
and under mulch or straw.
The female lays 20 to 60 eggs in the soil, about 2 - 3 inches deep.
The first step in Earwig control, is to eliminate their environment.
Eliminate damp, moist areas where they like to hide. For homeowners, make
sure gutters are clean, and direct downspouts away from the house.
They are active at night. They are attracted to lights. For gardeners, place
a light away from the garden. For homeowners, place a light out in the yard,
to attract them away from your house.
For homeowners, an insecticide like "Home Defense" is effective.
Organic controls Earwigs can be captured in traps. A simple trap is
to roll up a section of newspaper. Place it on the ground near an infested
plant at nightfall. In the morning, shake out the earwigs into a bucket of
soapy water. Another trap is a tuna can with 1/2" vegetable oil. Adding a
little bacon grease increases the effectiveness of the trap.
Insect Control - How to identify and control a variety
of garden insect pests