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Preventing Stored Grain Pests
Insects have insatiable appetites and the grain in your bin is a bug buffet. Their feeding damages the grain, degrades the quality and opens up the chance of fungi or other disease agents taking hold.
Bob Wright is an entomologist at the University of Nebraska. He says sanitation is your best defense, and the time to do it is now before harvest starts.
"You really need to clean out your bin and make sure there’s no grain remaining in an empty bin. Do a very thorough cleaning, also all the areas outside the bin and all the equipment that’s going to be used to transport grain – the grain truck, the auger – other things may have grain left over from last year and there may be insects harbored in those areas," says Wright. "Also clean up any loose grain around the bin."
While you’re cleaning, inspect the bin to ensure that it’s waterproof and there aren’t any cracks or holes where pests can easily get through.
There are insecticides approved for grain bins, and he also recommends treating the grain as it’s being put in the bin. For the best results, there shouldn’t be any old grain still in it.
"One thing that we often get questions about, part of a bin has grain in it and they want to add new grain to it. That’s not recommended, it’s not the ideal situation," he says. "It would really be best if you could get the old grain out and either sell it, feed it, or put it in another bin and consolidate it rather than adding new, clean grain on top of old grain."
Once the grain is stored, inspect it routinely to make sure there aren’t any infestations.