Earwigs

    Earwigs

    Adult earwig.
    Adult earwig.
    Earwig feeding damage.
    Earwig feeding damage.

    HOSTS

    • All fruit trees
    • Ripe fruit of peach, nectarine, apricot, and berries may especially be damaged

    DESCRIPTION

    The non-native pest, European earwig, has become a pest in the arid western regions. Earwigs will climb the trunk or stem and chew into fruits as they near maturity. They are especially fond of peaches, nectarines, apricots, and berries. They often gain entry by wounds or openings, such as split-pits in peaches. They seek tight hiding spaces.

    Earwigs also feed on decaying matter and other insects, so they can be beneficial. The "forceps" on the hind end are called cerci, and are used to hold food, ward off predators, and for mating.

    BIOLOGY

    European earwigs overwinter as adults and females lay eggs in the soil in early spring. Populations become noticeable by mid to late June. Wet, cool springs and summers favor this nocturnal insect.

    SYMPTOMS

    • Holes in fruit that may be 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep
    • Chewed leaves that appear frayed or torn-looking
    • Small dots of black frass (excrement) near feeding sites

    GENERAL MANAGEMENT

    Monitoring: Corrugated cardboard “rolls” tied onto the tree trunk can indicate when earwigs start climbing into trees. Unroll cardboard each day and discard earwigs into a can of soapy water.

    Earwigs are also predators on other insects, so their presence at times other than when fruits are ripe can be beneficial. If they become a pest, they can be treated with insecticides. A small tuna can with bacon grease will trap hundreds.

    Insecticides:

    • Residential: Band tree trunk near base with sticky adhesive or spinosad bait°, or spray carbaryl on tree.
    • Commercial: click here

     


    Precautionary Statement: Utah State University and its employees are not responsible for the use, misuse, or damage caused by application or misapplication of products or information mentioned in this document. All pesticides are labeled with ingredients, instructions, and risks, and not all are registered for edible crops. “Restricted use” pesticides may only be applied by a licensed applicator. The pesticide applicator is legally responsible for proper use. USU makes no endorsement of the products listed in this publication.