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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.
Earwigs and the damage causes to a cosmos flower. Credit: RHS/Entomology.
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
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