Thursday, September 9, 2010

Waiter, there's an Earwig in my .......

ewwwww, what's that?!?
An earwig

Forficula auricularia

Introduced to North America in the early 20th century.

It's a nocturnal insect, hiding in cool dark crevices during the day, like my lettuce, and coming out at night.

They also like my compost bin

They have wings but don't fly, rather they like to catch a ride.

They dropped out of the cut flowers I brought to the kitchen, they're in the cat litter, one fell out of my purse, they're climbing the walls.

We should kill them.

But why?

They're ugly and scary looking and they're EVERYWHERE.  That can't be good.

Hmmm, time to look at the internet.

Earwigs are scavengers.  Eating live and dead plant matter, aphids, spiders, and insect eggs.

Apparently earwigs can cause damage to crops IF their populations are very large.  HOWEVER they also eat insects such as aphids.  Aphids are bad.  Real bad.

So what do we do?  Well it says the key is to keep populations in check so damage to plants is minimal.  This can be done by ensuring predators are around.

Like this guy?


  1. I was collecting seeds yesterday and an earwig was in a seed pod. It came out in my hand and ran up my arm -- totally freaking me out and I scattered seeds everywhere! Next spring's going to be interesting.

  2. Quite the wildlife collection you have. I certainly have a lot of earwigs, they love the bark mulch, maybe I need to encourage the spiders to come out of the house and do their duty out in the garden.

  3. the earwigs are creepy but spiders are much higher on the creepy scale. I would be nuking the earwigs so the spiders would not be moving in.

    So how do you go about nuking earwigs?

  4. Earwigs? Did someone say earwigs??

    *New Jersey* I gotcha earwigs right heah!

    I don't have a problem with them being my garden. It's my house that I have a problem with, and they're a houseguest that won't go away. And even if I WANT to kill them, it's almost impossible. The bug guys who used to come and spray said that because they burrow in the ground so deep, it's hard to get poison down to them to off them. I hate when I find one in my bed or climbing out of my sink when I'm brushing my teeth at night. Bleah, I hate them.

  5. Auntie K - I'm with you. My inner child wants to scream and go running when I see these bugs. Or blast them with a high powered pesticide. Logically I know pesticides aren't the answer but earwigs really freak me out.

    Deborah - I was actually thinking of doing a post on an array of bugs but it seems the majority of my pictures were of earwigs! Fortunately the number of spiders in my garden seems to be on the rise - perhaps in correspondence to the number of earwigs?

    LifesHighway - I actually don't mind the spiders. As long as they're OUTSIDE. No plans to nuke the bugs quite yet (no idea what would work anyway) but will be actively encouraging my new found friend the black and yellow spider to make herself at home.

    Kyna - Good to know what pest control has to say. Obviously there's no point in that method. If it was just the flowers I'd be okay but the fact that they have invaded my lettuce really grosses me out. And the house! I pulled a gas coupon out of my purse and out fell an earwig. Seriously unpleasant. Haven't found them in my bed yet - thanks for putting that thought in my head!

  6. Oooh, those earwigs are super creepy! I remember finding them often in a house we bought many years ago. Who knew they were good for keeping aphids under control? Good to know. And I love your splendid Argiope spider, which will hopefully help control the earwigs. Nature's balance.

  7. Floridagirl - isn't she beautiful, what a spider. I've never seen one before and an internet search tells me they generally live in more southern locations so it's a surprise to see her here.