Top Crop Manager

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Prevent insect infestations when storing grain

Sept. 18, 2014 – Large amounts of last year's grain are still in storage and this year's grain is beginning to be delivered into the handling system. How you can protect all of your grain from spoiling or becoming infested?

The Canadian Grain Commission offers tips to help manage the quality of grain already in storage, and steps to take before filling bins to keep stored grain in good condition.

To protect the quality of grain currently in storage, the Canadian Grain Commission recommends you:

  • Sample the grain from the core at a depth of 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) from the surface. Insects are likely to be found in pockets of warm or moist grain. Sieve the samples or examine small portions carefully. Typically, stored product insects are very small beetles (less than three millimetres or 1/8 inch) that may not be moving. A magnifying glass can be helpful.
  • Monitor your grain in storage, if you can. Try to establish the temperature and moisture content of your grain as this will help you make decisions before insect or mould problems begin. For best results, your grain's temperature should be less than 15 C. As well, you should keep your grain at the appropriate moisture content, depending on its type (for example, wheat should be at or lower than 14.5 per cent moisture content). Grain temperature and moisture content should be as uniform as possible.
  • If you find insects, identifying them will help you decide what to do. The Canadian Grain Commission has insect identification keys online that can help you. If you cannot identify an insect using these keys, call an infestation control and sanitation officer.
  • Insects in your grain could be grain feeders, fungal feeders, or predators of these insects. By accurately identifying insects, you can determine the appropriate control method.
  • The Canadian Grain Commission's website has advice on controlling grain feeding insects. You can also contact the infestation control and sanitation officer for further assistance.

Before harvest, insects may be attracted by grain residue around bins and storage areas. 

  • Make sure storage areas are clean and free from grain residues that can harbour or attract insects.
  • If required, treat your empty storage bins with a registered contact insecticide such as malathion, pyrethrin or a diatomaceous earth-based product. Make sure you treat floor-wall joints, aeration plenums or floors and access points thoroughly. Note: Do not use malathion in bins intended for canola storage.


September 18, 2014  By Top Crop Manager


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