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Earwigs (forficula auricularia)

Size and colour

Earwigs are 14 mm long and dark brown with "pinchers" at their rear.


They live in soil or under stones and bark but often enter homes.


In Autumn, earwigs form cells below the ground in tree stumps or rotten wood. Each cell is occupied by an adult male and female. In January or February the female lays 20-40 eggs which hatch in about two months. The young are initially looked after by the mother but soon leave the nest and reach maturity in three to four months (July). Some females rear a second smaller brook in late spring for maturity in August or September.


Earwigs seek food at night and live mainly on vegetable matter, often destroying flower petals and tender foliage. They may also eat living or dead insects or mites. Indoors it is a harmless nuisance but may foul surfaces and occasionally foodstuffs.


Treat ways into your home - such as thresholds, airbricks etc - with a pesticide. Also treat the base of external walls after first removing any foliage close to the house. Follow all safety instructions supplied with pesticides.

You can see more information at:

For advice on a particular pest control problem please email us at or telephone us on 01329 236100.

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