Garden insect common European earwig (Forficula auricularia) on leaf


Time to act:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

Earwigs, which can be up to 14mm long, hide during the day and emerge at night to feed. The females lay eggs in late-winter, usually in the soil, which hatch in spring. Although earwigs can damage plants, they also eat small pests and their eggs, including aphids and codling moths, which attack apple and pear trees. You often find earwigs in holes in fruit, but they rarely caused the initial damage.


Earwigs like to nibble soft, young leaves and petals, leaving large ragged holes. Older leaves may be stripped back to a skeleton of veins.

Find it on

clematis, dahlias, chrysanthemums and other plants



To catch earwigs, exploit their habit of seeking out dark places to hide in during the day. Fill upturned flowerpots with straw or shredded paper, and place them on top of canes close to vulnerable plants with soft, new growth. Check the pots daily.


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