Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Dermaptera (Earwigs)

There are about 2000 species of known earwigs. Most earwigs are omnivorous but there are some that eat plants only and some that prefer decaying material. Earwigs are nocturnal but during the day, they can often be found tucked into crevices, under rocks, under logs, and under bark of trees.  Adults will overwinter in the soil. Earwig females will care for the eggs and their young up through their first instar, which is somewhat unusual in the insect world.

Forfidulidae (Common Earwigs)
Forficula auricularia European Earwig

There are several species and a couple of different families of native earwigs in North America but these are often overlooked because of the “learned hatred” of the European earwig.

This insect is a native of Europe, hence the name. It was introduced into North American in the early 1900s. They overwinter as adults. They are nocturnal and predatory, eating plants and other insects. They have become quite hated by gardeners for this foliage eating habit coupled with their tendency to aggregate and they can wipe out some nice plants in little time. They do eat aphids and might be the only reason they are tolerated.

For more info:
BugGuide
Penn State
has a fact sheet on them that has more info