European earwig

(Forficula auricularia)

Adult: 10–20 mm

Identification marks

The European earwig is shiny and dark brown. It has yellowish legs and wings. The end of its body has claw appendages, which are curved and slightly thicker in the males.



The claws of females are straighter and smaller in size. The European earwig has functional wings, although it rarely flies. The larva is similar to the adult but smaller in size.


The European earwig is an omnivorous insect. It usually moves around in night time and can be found in composts and plant litter, for example. The species is attracted to shadowed, cool and damp spaces. They can often be found underneath various objects and baseboards.

The European earwig feeds on insects, their eggs and plant parts.


As an omnivorous species, the European earwig is useful to humans, as it preys on plant pests, but it may sometimes gnaw on the buds of decorative flowers. The European earwig eats, among others, leaf vegetables, cabbages, root vegetables, cucumber, fruits and, in regard to decorative flowers, dahlias, dianthus, zinnias and roses, in particular.

The European earwig crawls indoors during autumns, in particular, as they look for cover.

Prevention and extermination

You can try to prevent the European earwigs coming indoors by placing a solution that dries up the insects, such as stone dust, burnt lime and diatomaceous earth, on suitable spots in the bathroom, as well as on door frames and thresholds.