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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs



Scientific Name
Forficula auricularia


  • White or cream coloured
  • Oval shaped


  • Elongate
  • 0.5–2.5 cm
  • Ranging from light red-brown to black in colour
  • Pair of forceps-like pincers (cerci) on their abdomen
  • Broad head with a distinct y-shaped joint
  • 11-segmented abdomen


  • Similar in appearance to nymphs
  • Short, leathery, veinless forewings
  • Large, membranous, semicircular hind wings that are folded fan-like beneath the forewings
  • Seldom take flight
  • Some species are wingless

Often Confused With
Rove beetles (another beneficial insect) – Earwigs have pincer-like cerci, while rove beetles do not.

Interaction with Host
Earwigs actively hunt for food and are omnivorous, eating arthropods, plants, and ripe fruit. To a large extent, this species is also a scavenger, feeding on decaying plant and animal matter.  Earwigs feed on mites and catepillars.

Period of Activity
April-September, with one generation per year.

Insects Attacked
Earwigs are generalist predators feeding on mites and other insects.

Monitoring and Management
Earwigs usually like damp habitats and conceal themselves during the day under debris, stones, and logs or in grape clusters and rolled or curled leaves.

Earwig adult, note pincers at tip of abdomen (Joseph Berger,
Click to enlarge.