Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out - book in advance and save
Earwigs are omnivorous, they feed on other small invertebrates and plant material. They can help reduce some pest problems but they can also damage flowers and young leaves of clematis, dahlia and chrysanthemums and occasionally other plants.
Common name Common earwigScientific name Forficula auriculariaPlants affected Mainly dahlia, clematis and chrysanthemumMain symptoms Young leaves and flower petals are eaten. Earwigs will be present on the plants after darkMost active May-September
The common European earwig is a brown insect, it is up to 13-15 mm long (about ½in), and has a pair of distinctive pincers or forceps on their rear end.
Control of fruit aphids
On fruit trees earwigs can give good control of fruit aphids and do not cause damage to the trees or fruit. Providing shelters such as flower pots loosely stuffed with hay in trees can help increase numbers.
On fruit trees earwigs should be encouraged as they are useful predators of fruit aphids.
Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)
Earwigs overwinter as adult insects in the soil and other sheltered places.
AntsAphidsAphid predatorsChafer grubs in lawnsChemical labels explained Chemicals: using a sprayer Chemicals: using safely and effectively Cherry blackfly Currant aphids Currant blister aphid EarthwormsFruit aphidsFungus gnatsGround beetles and rove beetlesLeatherjacketsMillipedesPear bedstraw aphidPlum aphids Pollen beetlesRaspberry and blackberry aphids RHS statement on pesticides in horticultureRosy apple aphidVine weevilWoolly aphid
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9