Preventing Stored Grain Pests

Avoid costly docking at the mill and grain fumigation expenses by taking the steps necessary to prevent a stored grain pest infestation.
Preventing Stored Grain Pests - Videos


Stored grain pests of corn, wheat, and other small grains can cause significant post-harvest losses. This video discusses strategies to reduce or avoid stored grain insect infestations. Starting out with a clean grain bin and aerating after harvest will go a long way towards maximizing your crop’s value.


Field Crops Entomology Weed Management Cover Crops

More by Liz Bosak, PhD 

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- [Liz] Hello, my name is Liz Bosak.

I am a field and forage crops educator based in Dauphin and Perry Counties.

Today, we will discuss strategies to prevent economic losses from stored grain pest infestations.

Based on estimates from Kansas State University researchers, for a hundred acres of corn at an average yield of 160 bushels per acre, the total cost of doing nothing to prevent or manage stored grain pests would be approximately $1,920.

There are many species of stored grain insect pests that feed either internally or externally.

The external feeders use broken kernels, fine particles, foreign material, and in some cases molds as food sources.

The first step in prevention is to start with a clean bin.

This includes keeping the area outside of the bin free of weeds and debris.

The inside walls should be cleaned of fine particles and foreign material.

The bin's false floor allows broken kernels, fine particles, and foreign material to accumulate at the bottom of the grain bin.

This provides an ideal habitat and food source for stored grain insect pests.

Here is just one example of what is found below a false floor.

If the false floor is removable, then remove the slats and clean out the bottom of the bin.

Otherwise, you may want to consider hiring a licensed fumigation company to fumigate the area below the false floor.

The next step is to inspect the bin for repairs.

The bottom seam next to the concrete is a common route of entry.

Here is an example of a newer grain bin with tight seals.

After cleaning out the bin and inspecting for repairs, a pre-binning insecticide can effectively rid the bin of remaining insects before loading the bin with new grain.

Alabama's Extension service has an excellent fact sheet on stored grains available online at the web address show on the screen.

The first table, Insecticides for Use for Empty Bin Treatments, goes through a list of available products, rates, mode of action, and application methods.

In addition, the fact sheet reviews preventative strategies.

Here are some examples of pre-binning insecticides.

The active ingredients are followed by some of the current trade names.

Beta-cylfuthrin and deltamethrin are both pyrethroids.

For organic producers, PyGanic is an OMRI approved pyrethroid product.

Diatomaceous earth contains crushed diatoms and silica and is used both as a pre-bidding insecticide and grain protectant.

Formulations are available for both conventional and organic operations.

S-methoprene is an insect growth regulator.

Aeration helps to keep grain dry and lower the temperature.

This creates an inhospitable environment for insect development.

Leveling the top of the grain surface will improve aeration efficiency and disperse fine particles.

After harvest is complete, clean the combine thoroughly, because even a few pounds of excess grain can harbor hundreds of insects.

Remember to protect your investment by preventing stored grain pest infestations.


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