Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002814/00001
 Material Information
Title: European Earwig, Forficula auricularia Linnaeus (Insecta: Dermaptera: Forficulidae)
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Weems, H.V.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Original publication date June 1998. Revised January 2007. Reviewed July 2010."
General Note: "EENY-032"
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00002814:00001

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Forficula auricularia H. V. Weems, Jr., and P. E. Skelley2 1. This document is EENY-032 (IN159), one of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date June 1998. Revised January 2007. Reviewed July 2010. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. H. V. Weems, Jr., and P. E. Skelley, Entomology and Nematology Department, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, FL 32611. The European earwig, Forficula auricularia Linnaeus 1758, is intercepted in Florida frequently in bundles of plants and shrubbery, in cut flowers, and in florists' equipment arriving from the western United States. This insect is spread largely by man. Spread by natural means is limited because earwigs seldom fly and cannot maintain flight very long. It has not yet become established in Florida, but it has the potential to do so, at least in the northern part of the state. This earwig was recorded first in the United States at Newport, Rhode Island in 1911 (Jones 1917). Jones (1917) reported a small colony from Seattle, Washington in 1915. Later evidence indicated that it first invaded North America somewhere on the west coast in the early 1900s. Eventually it became widespread in the New England and Middle Atlantic states and throughout most of the western states, especially where there is abundant rainfall or irrigation to provide moisture and food. It became the dominant species of earwig in most of these areas. This earwig is found throughout Europe, but it seldom is present in great numbers. Quantities of nursery stock arrive from the western United States annually that are infested with this earwig, but it has not successfully established in Florida. While it has not been considered of great economic importance in Europe, it has become a serious pest in parts of the United States. The European earwig is widespread in cooler parts of the world. Originally known from the Palearctic Region, the European earwig has been recorded from Canada (British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan) and the United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington). Dr. Kevin M. Hoffman, Department of Entomology, Clemson University, provided the following unpublished records: Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. There is a questionable record for Chile.


European Earwig, Forficula auricularia Linnaeus (Insecta: Dermaptera: Forficulidae) 2 F. auricularia (Figure 1) is a medium-sized earwig with body length 12-15 mm, male forceps 4 to 8 mm (Figure 2); female forceps 3 mm (Figure 2), tegmina 2 mm. Male forceps vary from about half as long to longer than the abdomen, broadened basally, with crenulate teeth basally and on beginning of curvature of inner margin. Antennae have 14 or 15 segments. The adult is rich reddish-brown, with wing covers and legs dull yellow brown, and the wings completely developed. Males are readily distinguished from other North American species of earwigs by their distinctive forceps. Adult male (bottom) and female (top) European earwigs, Foricula auricularia Linnaeus. Credits: Jim Kalisch, University of Nebraska, http://entomology.unl.edu/ European earwig adult male(1); tip of abdomen of male with short, sharply curved forceps(2); tip of abdomen of female earwig (3). Credits: Paul E. Skelly, Division of Plant Industry The female lays 50-90 shiny white eggs, each about 1.5 mm in length, in the ground in the fall. Females do not die at once, but hibernate, and in the spring attend the larvae in their early stages. Many hibernating females and their eggs have been found 5-8 mm below the soil surface. Rich garden soil with a southern exposure is a favorite place for egg deposition. Young earwig larvae resemble adults, but they are lighter in color, have no wings and only delicate, simple, slightly curved forceps or pinchers on the posterior end. Some females may produce a second brood in the spring. Most males die early in the spring after being driven from the nests. Females die before midsummer. Immatures of both broods become adults between late August and early October, when fresh male and female pairs enter the soil and construct their nests. The principal enemy of F. auricularia in the United States is a tachinid fly Bigonicheta spinipennis (Meigen). Several species of parasitic flies are natural enemies of this earwig in Europe. The European earwig feeds on other insects, plants, ripe fruit, and garbage. Plants that it feeds on include clover, dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhock, lettuce, strawberry, celery, potatoes, roses, seedling beans and beets, and tender grass shoots and roots. It damages sweetcorn by feeding on the silks


European Earwig, Forficula auricularia Linnaeus (Insecta: Dermaptera: Forficulidae) 3 (Getzendaner 1966). It is nocturnal, hiding during the day and roaming at night to find food and water. Around homes it hides in garden plants, in shrubbery, along fences, in woodpiles, at the base of trees, and behind loose boards on buildings. While it is chiefly an "outdoor insect", its habit of hiding among petals or leaves of plants, or inside fruit, allows it to be brought frequently into the home. New colonies tend to build to very high population levels with consequent competition for food and shelter, followed by gradual decline. It is a nuisance in and about homes and gardens. It is much disliked because of its repulsive appearance to many people, its foul odor, and its habit of feeding at times in kitchen refuse or hiding in a wet mop. It may be destructive to many plants and flowers, but it is omnivorous, feeding on both plant and animal material, and it may be beneficial as other insects make up a large part of the food supply. For management information see: Insect Management Guide for Ornamentals (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_GUIDE_IG_ Ornamentals) Insect Management Guide for Vegetables (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_GUIDE_IG_ Vegetables) Insect Management Guide for Household Earwigs (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/DOCUMENT_ IG093) Choate, P. M. (2001). The earwigs (Dermaptera) of Florida and eastern United States. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/choate/dermaptera.pdf (13 November 2002). Crumb, S.E., P.M. Eide, and A.E. Bonn. 1941. The European earwig, United States Dept. Agric. Techn. Bull. 766:1-76. Fasulo, T.R., W. Kern, P. G. Koehler, and D. E. Short. 2005. Pests In and Around the Home. Version 2.0. University of Florida/IFAS. CD-ROM. SW 126. Fulton, B.B. 1922. Destroy the earwigs. Oregon Agric. College Exper. Sta. Circ. 29:1-3. Fulton. B.B. 1924. Some habits of earwigs. Ann. Entomol. Soc. America 17(4):357-367. Getzendaner, C.W. 1966. The European earwig, how to control it around the home. (Revised) United States Dept. Agric. Home and Garden Bull. No. 75. 8 p. Hincks, W.D. 1955, 1959. A systematic monograph of the Dermaptera of the world. Pt. 1, p.1-132; Pt. 2, p. 1-218. British Museum (Nat. Hist.). Hoffman, K.M. 1987. Earwigs (Dermaptera) of South Carolina, with a key to the eastern North American species and a checklist of the North American fauna. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Washington 89:1-14. Jones, D.W. 1917. The European earwig and its control. United States Dept. Agric. Bull. No. 566:1-12. Lamb, R.J. 1975. Effects of dispersion, travel, and environmental heterogeneity on populations of the earwig, Forficula auricularia L. Can. J. Zool. 53:1855-1867. Lamb, R.J. 1976. Parential behavior in the Dermaptera, with special reference to Forficula auricularia (Demaptera: Forficulidae). Can. Entomol. 108:609-619. Lamb, R.J. and W.G. Wellington. 1974. Techniques for studying the behavior and ecology of the European earwig, Forficula auricularia (Demaptera: Forficulidae). Can. Entomol. 106:881-888. Lamb, R.J. and W.G. Wellington. 1975. Life history and population characteristics of the European earwig, Forficula auricularia (Dermaptera: Forficulidae) at Vancouver, British Columbia. Can. Entomol. 107:819-824. Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae (10) 143, no. 1. Holmiae (Stockholm).