Earwigs

Forficula auricularia and others

Family: Forficulidae

Order: Dermaptera

Description:

Colour - Creamy brown to Black.

Body - Long and flattened. 7-50 mm long.

Wings - Usually small with covers.

Mouthparts - chewing.

Antennae - Short, annulate, many segments.

Legs - short, similar length. Foot section (Tarsi) has 3 segments.

Head - Broad. Flattened. Moves on cylindrical, unprotected neck.

Thorax - about one quarter of length. Segments free.

Abdomen - Large claws on tail. Telescopic. Long. Freely movable. 8-10 segments. Slightly flattened.

Most active at night. Favour damp confined spaces.

Egg - Oval. <2 mm. Semitransparent. Creamy white. Smooth.

Nymph - Resemble adults. Lighter colour. Shorter antennae. Straighter claws.

Habits - Favour dark moist places or under debris or windrows. Many can fly but it usually at night and only for short distances. Attracted to lights. Omnivorous.

Biology:

Life Cycle:

Eggs laid in a batch (15-80 eggs) often at the bottom of a short burrow. The female licks the eggs to reduce fungal attack. They hatch 2-3 weeks later. The female usually looks after the young nymphs initially but may cannibalise later. The young moult 4-5 times which may take 40-100 days.

Habitats:

Origin and History:

Distribution:

Significance:

Forficula auricularia may built up to very large numbers and become a nuisance pest. In W.A. it has delayed harvesting of windrowed crops and caused unacceptable moisture levels in stored grain. They may eat holes in leafy vegetables or increase damage to fruit. They eat flower buds and may chew carpets and clothing. Nala lividipes has caused damage to field crops in Queensland.

Management and Control:

In most years control is not economical.

A bait of 200 mL Lorsban + 250 mL Sunflower oil + 5 kg cracked wheat per ha is often more effective than spraying.

Related Species:

Similar Species:

References:

CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p360.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.