Green Fingers I Wish

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Earwigs can be good - and bad

Small creatures called Earwigs are omnivorous and feed on live or dead aphids, other small insects and some plant material. They tend to attack the petals, buds and flowers of ornamental plants, particularly clematis, chrysanthemums and dahlias; sometimes the soft tissue between leaf veins. They hide inside flowers and debris during the day, and feed at night. Earwigs like a narrow crevice to hide in during the day, preferring to have contact with the upper and lower surfaces of their body. This is probably how they got their name, when they crawled into the ears of people sleeping on straw beds (they do not attack eardrums). They also possess fan-like wings which are greatly folded under what looks like a golden waistcoat, but are rarely seen in flight. The male has curved pincers at the rear and females have straighter ones.

The female lays about 80 eggs in a nest underground or in rotting wood, between November and February. These take about 10 days to 3 months to develop depending on the temperature. The nymph goes through 4 changes over a 40 to 50 day period. The mother guards the eggs and the first stage of the nymph. After this the nymphs leave the nest and fend for themselves feeding on small invertabrates like aphids. They resemble the adult but are paler and lack wings.


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