How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


European Earwig

Scientific Name: Forficula auricularia

(Reviewed 6/08, updated 6/08)

In this Guideline:


Earwigs feed at night and can be found hidden inside split fruit and around crowns of plants during the day. They are slender brown insects, about 0.5 to 0.75 inch (12-19 mm) long. They have a conspicuous pair of pincers attached to the back end of the abdomen. The adults' wing covers are short and leathery. The pest becomes most destructive as nymphs approach maturity from April to July.


Earwig feeding results in small deep holes in the fruit that can only be distinguished from slug damage by the absence of slime. They will also inhabit catfaced or open-ended fruit.


To control earwigs, destroy rubbish near strawberry fields. In South Coast areas, earwigs may become a problem when they are present inside split fruit at harvest. If a lot of fruit splitting occurs, look for earwigs and apply bait if they are present. If fruit splitting is not occurring, there is no need for treatment.

Earwigs can be monitored using inverted containers that are filled with shredded paper and have holes located near their bases. Examine the containers by removing the shredded paper to look for earwigs that have sought shelter. You can also use small cans, about one-third filled with vegetable oil containing a small amount of bacon grease or fish oil. Earwigs are attracted by the bacon grease or fish oil, fall into the vegetable oil, and suffocate. If significant numbers of earwigs are present, apply bait to the tops of beds, between plants.

Organically Acceptable Methods
Keeping strawberry fields clear of rubbish and plant debris is an organically acceptable control method.

Common name Amount/Acre R.E.I.+ P.H.I.+
(trade name)   (hours) (days)

Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
Bee precaution pesticide ratings
When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to impact on natural enemies and honey bees as well as the environmental impact Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read label of product being used.
  (Sevin 5%) 40 lb 12 7
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Strawberry
UC ANR Publication 3468

Insects and Mites

  • F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis
  • M. P. Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension, Santa Cruz County
  • S. K. Dara, UC Cooperative Extension, Santa Barbara County
  • S. Joseph, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County
Acknowledgment for contributions to the Insects and Mites:
  • P. A. Phillips, UC IPM Program and UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County
  • N. C. Toscano, Entomology, UC Riverside

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