The Q&A Archives: Earwig Origin

Question: I don't remember earwigs in my garden until about 10 years ago, nor does my mother who has been gardening for over 75 years. My brother-in-law, who is in the fertilizer business, says they have always been in Canada. All references I have found, refer to them as European Earwigs. Are they new to this country?

Answer: The most commonly encountered earwig in American gardens is Forficula auricularia, the European Earwig. The earliest reference I can find to the pest is 1920 (W.S. Blatchley in the book Orthoptera of Northeastern America). It appears that the European Earwig, once introduced from Europe, migrated from the Atlantic Coast and is currently a common pest throughout gardens in the U.S. and Eastern Canada. There is a natural predator (Bigonicheta spinipennis) called a tachinid fly which has been introduced from Europe to help control this pest.

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