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How to Prevent Pests From Infesting Your Stored Grain

You work hard to harvest a bountiful crop of grain, so don’t forget to protect it from damaging insect infestations once you store it. Pests such as weevils, beetles, caterpillars and moths can feed on and contaminate your product, eating away at volume and forcing you to sell at a reduced rate.

Fortunately, proper storage can help you avoid these problems. Below, we explain how to get rid of weevils and other bugs in grain bins and achieve grain pest control so that you produce high-quality grain season after season.

4 Key Steps for Grain Storage Insect Control

Understanding stored grain pests and their management can help you preserve your stored grain. Biological control of stored grain pests involves preventative measures to keep pests out of your storage bins. Take control of storage pests by implementing the following tips for grain bin pest control.

1. Use Clean Bins and Equipment

Stored grain pest infestations usually arise from insects already present in or around the grain bin. For this reason, grain storage insect control starts with cleaning grain bins thoroughly between each load.

Before harvesting grain and transferring it to grain bins, you should sanitize:

  • The equipment: Pests can feed on old grain left in your equipment. Avoid this issue by clearing combines, augers and grain driers of residual grain.
  • The empty bin: Only store freshly reaped grain in clean bins. Empty them of any remaining grain by using shovels, brooms and vacuums in any hard-to-reach areas.
  • Around the bin: Keep the land surrounding the bin clear of any spilled grain and uncontrolled grasses and weeds, as these can harbor insects and rodents.

Cleaning your grain bin is a good time to ensure it’s waterproof. Inspect it for any areas of disrepair, as these can be opportunities for insects to gain entry. Survey the grain bin roof for any leaks and patch them up.

Inspect the walls and floor of the grain bin for any gaps, cracks or holes and seal them. Additionally, make sure the grain bin door closes with a tight seal once you’re finished filling it with a new harvest.

2. Invest in Custom Grain Handling Equipment

High-quality grain handling equipment plays a pivotal role in the caliber of your grain and the success of your operation. Because each grain facility is unique, one-size-fits-all equipment isn’t always the best choice. Ill-fitting grain handling equipment can allow insects and rodents into your grain bins, tarnishing your harvest.

With LCDM’s customizable selection of grain handling equipment, you can outfit your facility with products made specifically for it. Customized equipment can help with weevil control in stored grain and enhance your distribution process. Our most popular offerings include:

  • Cushion boxes
  • Valves
  • Slide gates
  • Flow retarders

Browse our product selection to see how our solutions can help improve your grain quality.

3. Only Store Clean, Dry Grain

Cracked or broken grains and dockage are food sources for insects that aren’t present in clean, whole grain. It’s necessary to use a grain cleaner to remove any foreign materials before storage to keep insects at bay.

Additionally, grain must be dry as it goes into storage — even the slightest percentage difference in grain moisture content can increase the risk of a pest infestation. The ideal moisture content for binned grains is as follows:

  • Corn: 13-15%
  • Soybeans: 11-13%
  • Wheat: 13.5%

4. Monitor Stored Grain

Inspecting your grain bins every one to two weeks can provide you with insight into the moisture, temperature, pest activity and general condition of the stored grain. Regular inspections allow you to detect and take action early against any pest infestations.

Here are a few best practices for grain inspection at a glance:

  • Use a grain probe to retrieve samples in a pattern from the top and bottom of the grain pile.
  • Take samples no further than 20 feet apart from the middle of the grain pile and outward toward the wall.
  • Look for signs of localized high-temperature zones or “hot spots” in the grain and abnormal smells.
  • Check the center of the bin in colder months, as pests will migrate there.

The following two indicators are signs of a stored grain pest infestation:

  • Temperature: Insects put off heat as they breathe. In areas of high insect activity, this process can result in a “hot spot.” You can use a probe or permanent thermometer to check grain temperature. However, hot spots are often difficult to identify, and unfortunately, pests can cause extensive damage before they’re discovered.
  • Carbon dioxide: A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the grain denotes the existence of pests in the grain bin during the development phase of the infestation. You can insert monitoring tubes into the top and center of the grain mass and take air samples every two weeks to stay abreast of carbon dioxide levels.

Surveying the top of the grain pile is a relatively easy way to check for pest infestations. Be on the lookout for the following indicators:

  • Clumps of grain
  • Webbing on top of the grain
  • The presence of beetles, moths or larvae
  • Condensation on the inside of the bin roof
  • A sour odor

A pest presence on top of the grain mass, along with webbing, often indicates an Indianmeal moth infestation. These moths only harm the top 12-14 inches of the grain pile, so removing the webbing and tarnished grain can help control the infestation.

You can monitor the center of the grain mass through a side access door using probe traps, plastic tube traps or adhesive pheromone traps. These traps attract pests, helping you determine the type and amount present in the grain bin. You’ll insert these traps into the center of the grain mass and leave them for a period of time before removing them.

Protect Your Grain With Custom Equipment From LCDM

Protecting your stored grain from pest infestations requires a multi-pronged approach of sanitation, protection and inspection.

LCDM’s custom grain-processing equipment can help protect stored grain by keeping pests out and reducing mechanical damage during grain flow. Protect your grain and maximize your operation’s efficiency with products designed by engineers with extensive knowledge of the material handling industry.

If you have any questions about our grain-handling products and equipment, our friendly and responsive staff is ready to assist you. Request a quote today!

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