January 2013. As part of an insect survey, an earwig was caught resting on Morinda citrifolia.
The insect is an earwig (Order Dermaptera). Earwigs are not normally serious plant pests – they mostly feed on insect and mite eggs and dead plant material – although earwigs can cause crop damage in some situations. There are pictures of the damage they can cause at:
They are said to be a serious pest of peanuts in Israel, where they enter the pods. They damage the soft peanut pods sporadically all through Africa, but are much less of a problem in this crop than white grubs and termites. They also attack young leaves and flower petals. What are they are looking for; maybe moisture/humidity?
It is possible that they just want the moisture, but only IF the damage is done by earwigs. Remember the first of the recommendations for IPM in the FFS’s and also in general pest management: GROW A HEALTHY CROP. This means that under moisture stress (and other stresses) you can find unexpected symptoms and/or unexpected infections. Just as an example: I once saw leaf cutting ants, Atta sp., defoliate bananas in the Caribbean. This is not a host plant for them at all, but it was during a prolonged period of very dry weather. They just must have been desperate for moisture!
Please note that seeing an organism on a damaged plant does not mean that that particular organism caused the damage, they are innocent until PROVEN guilty!
In New Zealand, earwigs are a pest of ornamentals, in particular cymbidiums for export. They live under the bark potting mix and climb up to chew on the flowers.