Common pests

Earwigs

Earwigs are widespread throughout Britain and Europe and are found primarily outdoors where they scavenge on plant and animal material. They can cause damage in gardens and nurseries as they gnaw plants. On the other hand , they destroy many other plant pests, such as aphids.

Facts about earwigs

The female earwig lays batches of about 30 eggs in soil. When the eggs hatch they go through 4 to 6 nymphal stages. All stages of earwig development normally feed at night and rest in cracks and crevices during the day, including doors and windows etc.
By mid - September, however, they tend to bury themselves in the ground where they spend the winter.

How do they affect me?

The earwig can fly as it possesses wings but it is reluctant to do so. Despite tales to the contrary earwigs can only nip humans and cannot puncture skin and they do not creep into ears.  As stated the earwig is widely distributed throughout Britain and sometimes occurs in significant numbers indoors. It tends to move indoors to avoid extreme heat or the colder weather of autumn and is mainly of nuisance value.

How do you control them?

The best method of avoiding a plague of earwigs is to deny them suitable living conditions close to the house. Heavy plant growth and compost heaps near to the house provide excellent habitats for them. The problem can also be reduced by setting traps for them near the house. Upturned flowerpots filled with compost, peat, grass or paper stood near to the house will attract earwigs, which can be emptied every morning. Chemical control of earwigs is not necessary in the majority of cases. However, if removal of nearby vegetation or proofing of entry points does not overcome the problem, the application of a residual spray or powder may help. Crawling insect spray or powder is available from chemists, hardware stores or garden centres.

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