• Scientific name: Forficula auricularia
  • Type: Insects

Key information

These long, glossy brown insects can be recognised by the characteristic pincers at the hind end of their body. Although there are about 2,000 known species worldwide, only four are native to the UK – this is the most common.

Earwigs are generally nocturnal, and seek out dark cracks and crevices to rest during the day. They are mainly vegetarian scavengers, but will eat carrion and other insects.

Although they have wings, earwigs are usually reluctant to fly. Unlike most insects, a female earwig is a good mother. She lays 30-50 eggs and protects them through the winter. When they hatch, she feeds and tends the nymphs until they are able to fend for themselves.

Despite their name, earwigs are unlikely to venture into a human ear!

What they eat:

Plant matter, flowers, carrion and small insects.


Up to 15 mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Bog garden Compost heap Fence/wall Flower border Hedge Herb garden Meadow area Patio Rock/stone pile Shrub Window box Woodland area

Where and when to see them

Throughout the garden hiding in dark places, such as under pots. They also hide in flowers.

Earwigs are most likely to be seen in spring, summer and autumn.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec