Sept. 9, 2014 - Producers can minimize potential pest problems by cleaning up in and around grain bins prior to harvest. Most empty grain bins will have some form of insects or mites surviving on dust or grain. Before binning new grain, these bins need to be swept, or preferably vacuumed, out and debris either buried or burned.
"The best time to minimize the potential for stored grain insects is before the grain is in the bin," says Jim Broatch, pest management specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Lacombe. "A thorough cleaning of the bin prior to filling is the best method to reduce any small populations of stored grain insects that may become a problem later in the year. Storage bins, especially if there's a history of infestation, can be sprayed or dusted with a recommended insecticide before grain storage."
Producers can help prevent problems by cleaning up any spilled grain around the bin. Spilt grain, exposed to environmental moisture, can easily build up populations of insects that could migrate into the bin later in the year. Cleaning up and removing any outside grain can minimize future problems within the bins.
"Warm, moist or weedy crops are most susceptible to damage," says Broatch. "Warm or moist grain will contribute to moisture migration within a bin. These conditions can cause locations within the bin where grain will spoil and result in insect infestation, mite and mould development. Therefore, clean out foreign matter prior to storage, and store the grain dry. Ensure appropriate aeration is applied to adequately cool the grain temperature below 15 C, or continuously turn the grain as the outside air temperature decreases, which prevents insects from further developing or laying eggs. Turning involves removing about one-third of the grain from the bin every two to four weeks and putting it back in the bin until the grain temperature reaches 15 C. Check the temperature of the grain in the bin at least every two weeks for the first 60 days of storage. Measure temperature by using temperature sensing cables that are permanently installed, or by probing the grain with a hand probe or an electronic sensor device."
If a stored grain insect problem is anticipated, products can be added while augering or moving grain. "Products with diatomaceous earth such as Protect-It can keep potential insect problems in check," says Broatch. "Addition of these products at recommended rates while augering grain will provide protection against stored grain pests. Other products are also registered for control of stored grain insects."