Guide Other pests

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3. Earwigs


Earwigs are a long brown insect and can grow up to 20mm in length. They have characteristic forceps or ‘pincers’ and scavenge on both live and dead animals and plant material. Earwigs mainly live outdoors but tend to come indoors for protection during the colder months. They are nocturnal creatures, hiding during the day in cracks and crevices and then appearing at night to feed. Earwigs have wings, but fly reluctantly and they don't generally travel very far. Earwigs are often carried indoors in cut flowers or house plants and can invade from the garden through open windows or other entry points. The female lays batches of about 30 eggs just below the soil surface. Once the eggs have hatched into nymphs (miniature adults), it takes approximately nine weeks for them to become fully developed adults.


Earwigs are harmless to humans. In the garden they have a reputation of being a horticultural pest as they damage plants but most people don't realise they can also be beneficial as they feed on aphids and other garden pests. Indoors they are mainly a nuisance only, collecting in humid places like bathrooms and sometimes feeding and fouling on food.

How do I get rid of them?

It is not usually necessary to use a pest control firm to deal with an earwig problem. A more practical approach is to try and find areas where they are getting inside and carry out proofing work to prevent future access. In addition, an insecticidal spray or powder may need to be used in the areas where earwigs have been seen congregating and hopefully this combined effort should eradicate the problem. Manufacturer’s instructions should be followed carefully when applying insecticides. Lastly, any vegetation or creepers in the garden should be cut back from walls next to windows and doors to prevent other ways for earwigs to gain access to a property.