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Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

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Order: Dermaptera (derm-AP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Forficulidae
Genus: Forficula
Species: auricularia

Profile:

1 positive
3 neutrals
8 negatives

Regional...

This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Queen Creek, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Cloverdale, California
Los Angeles, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California
Stockton, California
Denver, Colorado (2 reports)
Wilmington, Delaware
Atlantic Beach, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Holiday, Florida
Griffin, Georgia
Roswell, Georgia
Grayslake, Illinois
Prospect Heights, Illinois
Spring Grove, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Warrenville, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Farmington, Michigan
Fenton, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Derry, New Hampshire
Trenton, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mechanicville, New York
Syracuse, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina
Columbus, Ohio
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Albany, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Milton-freewater, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Prineville, Oregon
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Alvin, Texas
Houston, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Vernal, Utah
Pomeroy, Washington
Rainier, Washington
South Hill, Washington
Tonasket, Washington
Waukesha, Wisconsin

By linda_nc
Thumbnail #1 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by linda_nc

By bootandall

Thumbnail #2 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by bootandall

By Meig

Thumbnail #3 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by Meig

By wallaby1

Thumbnail #4 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by wallaby1

By wallaby1

Thumbnail #5 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by wallaby1

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Thumbnail #6 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by wallaby1

By clareb

Thumbnail #7 of Earwig, European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) by clareb

There are a total of 10 photos.
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Member Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative blossombloom On Dec 2, 2006, blossombloom from Griffin, GA wrote:

These things give me the chills. They can call into your ear or ears of pets and cause serious problems, even death. So BEWARE! I've seen a few in my house this past year and plan to spray every inch of my yard, which is going to take a lot of work and probably money too.

Neutral palmbob On Dec 9, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA
(Zone 8b) wrote:

I hope the above comment is a joke... right? EArwigs are harmless creatures that can't even bite you if given the opportunity. They certainly don't crawl in your ears, or your pets ears, and if, for some odd reason, they did, they wouldn't know what to do there.. they certainly couldn't do any damage. The name comes from old myths about these insects (and I mean OLD myths). I did see an Outer Limits, or Night Gallery once, where an ear wig crawled through someone's head and laid eggs on the way... but that was obviously a story.

However, they are not totally harmless to plants, sometimes nibbling at small bits of living plant tissue. Generally, though, they are saprophytic, eating dead plant and animal material. I find them in my palms a lot, where they seem to hide in the centers where the leaves come out of.. .but so far have not seen any damage done by them.

They are primarily nocturnal creatures, moving about when it's cool and dark... and seem to be ubiquitous about the US... nearly all earwigs seen here are this species... but there are other species in the world.

Neutral AmandaTaylor7 On May 10, 2007, AmandaTaylor7 from Alvin, TX
(Zone 9a) wrote:

I do not particularly care for this bug because the only place I've seen it is in my house, not in my garden, and no one in their right mind wants bugs living in their home.

It creeped me out at first because the "pincher" tails looks fiercer than they are. I was afraid that they would pinch my newborn daugther and infect her with something. This of course, did not happen (new Mommy worries - others can relate, I'm sure!).

These bugs mostly stay on the carpet at my home and die shortly after entering the house (within a day or two). Found them in cabinets, too, as well as a few other dark places. I usually find the dead ones at/near the baseboards in my home. As far as I can tell, they have caused no harm and we began spraying the house and yard (we have a large brown spider problem) and they have disappeared since. It is springtime again though, so I guess we'll see if they try to set up camp again.

I just found them to be of a cleaning nuisance inside my home more than anything.

Negative mypetalpatch On Jun 8, 2007, mypetalpatch from Cloverdale, CA
(Zone 9b) wrote:

Yes, these pests can be found in the derndest places: glovebox of car, underwear drawer, inside spring-loaded eyeglass case. But, they also terrorize certain plants: rose blossoms, daylilly blossoms, lichnis blossoms (been on night patrol and got over 30 in one night on two lichnis plants) - they chew blossoms in particular to tatters, but seem to leave alone the greens.

Negative porchpet On Jul 10, 2007, porchpet from Holiday, FL wrote:

these are awful bugs to have around, they do give quite a good pinch!!! i see 2 different kinds of these bugs, i have had experiences with them on longisland NY and here in florida. just an unpleasent insect!

Negative jazzzy704 On Oct 12, 2007, jazzzy704 from Fenton, MI
(Zone 5b) wrote:

This Earwig DOES use its pincher to pinch!! AND IT IS A STINGING MEMORABLE HURT LIKE A BITE. WHO EVER SAID THEY DON'T BITE IS ABSOLUTELY wrong!! They also can eat through lots of plant tissue in an evening. I have found nothing but Diazinon to
kill these. I use a liquid and only spray the base of my house and 6"
of soil next to the house to create a barrier to entry to my home.

Negative Malus2006 On Jan 8, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN
(Zone 4a) wrote:

This bug is very common around my Grandma's house in Roseville, Minnesota. It may have been hitchhiking on some potted perennial or something. It is uncommon around my house in Coon Rapids - reason unknown - either not suited host plants or too shady. Around Grandma's house it loves to attack roses that is often a bit "ripe" meaning petals start to fall off at the touch and small amount of brusing occur. Earwigs loves to hide in any loose locations, include the bark of the ash tree in the front yard and last year they were in the door frame - hence the reports of earwigs in the house. Oddly enough they are not common in the backyard of my grandma's house so may be strongly connected to hybrid tea roses.

Positive wallaby1 On Sep 23, 2008, wallaby1 from Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a) wrote:

I have always heard of how much the poor Earwig is hated, they eat your plants etc. Well, maybe they do eat some plants, but so do we, they need a varied diet too! Most plants they do eat are herbaceous that I know of, so the plant will grow again and so what if it doesn't look it's best!

They do have a positive side, they eat other pest insects and eggs as well as pollen. They are very fond of corn tassles, eating them and hiding between the top protective sheaths, but I have never found them to damage the corn unless I have split the skins to see if they are ripe. Maybe if they were prettier people wouldn't hate them so much, shame on we humans!

The female is a very caring mother, she lays around 50 eggs in an underground nest in the autumn. She goes into a dormant state and stays with them until hatching in the spring, then cares for them until they mature in about a month after hatching. The baby Earwigs are the same as adults, but smaller, shedding their skins as they grow.

Oh yes, they can seem to be a nuisance, they climb into the gap under my front/side door when it turns cold in autumn, well don't we all want to keep warm then!

Be kind to Earwings. Nature provided us with these as part of nature's chain, trust in nature.

Negative Hastur On Jun 29, 2009, Hastur from Houston, TX wrote:

Creepy things. I ended up having to research them because here in Houston, they seem to be fairly prevalent in my yard.

I find them under hay bales, when I turn the bales over after a good soaking. I also find them in any piles of clippings or leaves that I may have - including the ones that are a part of the garden beds.

I have never been bitten or stung by one, but they definitely are not completely harmless. I've found a couple in tomatoes before, and the weirdest surprise of all was to find that a couple of my potatoes had been being worked on by some. Nothing huge, and if they like to eat rotting stuff, it would definitely explain why the bugs are found where they are.

Negative Theminkman On Jul 14, 2009, Theminkman from Peoria, IL wrote:

I see these all the time here in Peoria, IL. By the way, to the person who lives in Coon Rapids, I grew up in Minnesota, and I know everywhere in the Twin Cities, and pretty much the whole state (Growing up, I taught myself maps, and by age 11 I knew how to draw and label all the counties of Minnesota). I know where Coon Rapids is, I lived all up and down Highway 169, fairly near there.

Negative clareb On Jul 29, 2009, clareb from Missoula, MT
(Zone 5a) wrote:

My "rating" of earwigs is neutral to negative.

I am neutral about earwigs when they eat decomposing plant matter.

I am rather negative about earwigs when they feast on my annuals. (Please see submitted photos.) I have had earwigs decimate the blooms off of calibrachoa plants, riddle coleus leaves with holes, and strafe egglplant leaves. This feasting occurs every year and, if left unchecked, causes great damage to the plants. Despite the damage to its leaves, the eggplant doesn't seem to be bothered much while the calibrachoa and coleus have been chewed to near death.

I harbor particularly negative feelings for earwigs when I see that they have chewed the petals entirely off of my calibrachoa flowers (nicotiana as well).

While I haven't used "the big guns" such as pesticides to deal with earwigs, I have found that a few back-to-back night "patrols" of shaking container-grown plants to remove the earwigs (which I then kill) seems to keep earwig damage to a minimum.

Neutral Pandypeg On Oct 24, 2011, Pandypeg from Albany, OR
(Zone 8a) wrote:

I don't know which variety of earwig I have in my area. This past summer I tried growing a 4 x 4 patch of corn. In the fall when I picked the last few ears of corn I noticed a few had earwigs hiding in between the leaves. They didn't cause any damage. It occured to me that this might be where the name earwig came from. I never have been pinched by one. Maybe it depends on the variety.


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