Northwest berry Foundation

Management Detail

Earwig, European (common)

in Blackberries

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Latin name: Forficula auricularia


Reason for Concern:
1) Significant harvest contaminant, particularly if there is rain just prior to harvest or in wet harvest conditions.
2) Earwig feeding causes superficial leaf damage.

A 1/4” to 1 1/4” insect recognized by prominent forceps-like appendages at the tip of the abdomen. The body is reddish-brown to black, elongated and flat with short, leathery wings. Weak fliers, they crawl and emit a foul-smelling, yellow-brown liquid from their scent glands.

Life Cycle:
Egg to adult development is gradual and temperature dependent. Earwigs overwinter as pairs in cells in the soil. Females lay 2 broods: 20 to 50 small, white eggs in early spring with about 70 days incubation; the late spring brood requires about 20 incubation days. Immature earwigs are smaller than adults, grayish-brown, lack wings, and mature in 50 days.



  • Before harvest, sample field with a beating tray to determine size of earwig population.
  • Earwig feeding damage on leaves is not economic but can be used for monitoring for their presence.
  • Due to their mobility, controlling earwigs is difficult even with broad-spectrum insecticides.
  • Workers on the harvesters need to be well trained to communicate presence of earwigs and remove them as they come across the belt.
  • Earwigs are more likely to be contaminant pests during night harvest.
  • Train and equip harvester workers to collect specimens that come across belt and note location of excessive numbers.

Cultural Controls:

  • Keep row clean of weeds.


For information about chemical controls, check with our Pesticide Guide.


photo by A. Antonelli

Earwig, eggs and nymph - photo by K. Gray

photo by T. Peerbolt

photo by T. Peerbolt

photo by T. Peerbolt


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Northwest Berry Foundation

Northwest Berry Foundation

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