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Houston Home Inspector Provides Information About The Earwig

Earwigs have about 20 species in North America, in the Order Dermaptera. They are between 3/8-5/8" (9-15 mm) including abdominal forceps, the male forceps are curved and the female's are straight, their bodies are reddish brown to almost black, with yellow antennae, legs and elytra. The Earwigs have short wings that do not cover abdomen, and antennae have 15 or fewer segments.

  • Food Vegetables, orchard fruits, garden flowers, garbage, as well as mites and insect larvae and pupae.
  • Life Cycle Female digs cup-shaped nest in upper soil, deposits mass of up to 30 oval grayish-white eggs, and stays with them until a few days after they hatch. Nymphs mature in about 10 weeks. Eggs and adults over winter in soil or under boards and stones. 1 or 2 generations a year.
  • Habitat Dark damp crevices and ground litter; grasses, herbs, shrubs, trees, and even buildings.
  • Range Eastern Canada and southern New England; also the Pacific Northwest.
  • Gardeners often lure these tiny insects by spreading poisoned bran sweetened with molasses. In California a parasitic tachinid fly has been introduced from Europe to control this minor pest.