April 3, 2012 7:41 pm
I’m the first to admit I know nothing about bugs and ID-ing them in general, but this little fellow was a complete mystery to me. Never seen one like him before! He was found near the site of what we think was a small (empty) wasp’s nest… is he (she?) one?
Signature: Confused in California
Dear Confused in California,
Your insect is an Earwig, not a wasp. Earwigs often seek tight spaces in which to take shelter, and the origin of the name Earwig, according to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, is Anglo-Saxon earwicga, which means “ear beetle or worm”. Hogue writes that the Anglo-Saxons: ” who lived in sod huts, where these insects also lived, occasionally found them in their ears upon waking from a sound sleep on a straw mattress. The warm and tight ear opening of a slumbering person might well have been a snug hiding place for these crevice-loving creatures.” Based on its coloration, we believe your Earwig is a European Earwig, Forficula auricularia, and you may compare your photo to this image from BugGuide.