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Earwigs Got Wings?

Tuesday August 14, 2012

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Mr Pest Control

Question:

I have an insect that I believe is a female earwig except she has long wings that extend all the way to the end of her cerci. She has the long antenna coming from just below her eyes and the cerci and the obvious segments on her ventral side. She is a classic earwig except for the long wings? Is there another insect I am overlooking for identification?

Mr Pest Control

Answer:

Without an image to help with the ID I won't be absolutely positive on this, but it still could be an earwig. Especially if there are earwig-like pincers at the back, which no other common insects have, this may just be an earwig with her flight wings extended. We don't often see earwigs fly, but several species are quite capable of it and have very large hind wings for flight that they normally fold up nicely and stuff under the first pair of wings to protect them while not flying. Those forewings are simply short covers (elytra) used only as this protective cover, leaving most of the abdomen exposed on top. In your case, take a close look and see if there is that pair of short, dark elytra just in front of the large wings. 


A bit of trivia we may not remember is that much of the diet of earwigs will be other insects. While the European Earwig will also munch on plant materials much or most of its diet is other bugs, so it serves us a benefit in that regard. Some earwig species are almost 100% predatory in their food gathering, so if these creatures are staying outside in the garden where they can do some good that garden may be better off with them than without them. 

Mr. Pest Control

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