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Of Onions and Earwigs... a strange bit of new to me local lore.  RSS feed

 
Roberto pokachinni
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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So about a month ago my neighbor was harvesting and cleaning her onions and being super meticulous about stripping off the outer dead skins, and trimming the roots right to the bulb.  I was curious, as I have never cleaned my onions so severely as this.  She said that last year she had not done nearly as clean a job and she noticed an abundance of earwigs made there way into her house and seemed to be directly associated with where she hung the onions.  She tends to be a bit more particular about things, so I didn't really take it to heart.  I had never noticed a connection between the two species, and so I went about trimming my roots and brushing the drier and dirty material off the bulbs as I have always done, and hung them up in the woodshed to cure a bit.  Today, I went to take them from the woodshed and put them into the dry warm crawl space below the house.  I hauled the bundles in rubbermaid tote that I set in a wheelbarrow, and then lifted the tote down into the hole that goes down below.  This sort of process always accumulates a bit of dry leaf debris in the tote, and, after the job was complete, with several dozen hauls, as I went to clean the tote I saw and earwig.  And then another one.   And yet again a third.  And a forth and a fifth. 

I know longer doubt the observations of my neighbor.    
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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They are quite the pest here, but I find them mainly in places like the spinach and lettuce beds. I have never found them in the onions, but then again, I always trim the roots back to nothing and remove several layers of skin anyway. I mainly do this to deter black mold and excessive root sprouts during storage.
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I have a feeling that the earwigs were in the onion leaves.  We hang them in bundles of 10 from the leaves.  I will ask her if her trimming had an effect, or if the earwigs were still abundant.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I leave about one inch or less at the top, almost nothing at the roots and remove a layer or two of skin if they're too thick and would keep the skins from drying properly. There isn't much room then for earwigs or other bugs to hide. If I have lots of onions I usually spread them out on newspaper. If I don't have so many I like to tie them in the legs of pantyhose, with a knot between each onion. That way you can hang them up and when you need an onion just cut above the onion leaving the knot below the next onion up.
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1428
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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trimming the tops will probably save you from the earwig situation.  The neighbor lady thinks that there are earwig eggs on the roots.  I think they are mature and in the leaves.   They might be in the skins.  All of the ones that I saw were full grown, and were hanging out in the dry leaves that had separated from the plants in the tote that I was hauling the onions in.   
If I don't have so many I like to tie them in the legs of pantyhose, with a knot between each onion. That way you can hang them up and when you need an onion just cut above the onion leaving the knot below the next onion up.
  I have done something similar with high value fungi (matsutake, pine mushrooms), to pack them out of the forest without damage.  I have many hundreds of onions though, so it's not practical.  I've been selling onions for a month, and we still have too many.  Oh well.  Worse things have happened.
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Here the idea is to plat them and hang them in bunches of twelve never taken the leaves off as it protects against drying out .
never seen any earlywigs
David
 
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