Heat, humidity, insects and other pests are all problems to successful grain storage.

Kathy Flanders, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System entomologist who specializes in stored grain pests, says these are problems that most of the state’s grain producers know how to deal with.

“These problems pose larger challenges for people storing small amounts of grain, usually for wildlife feeding,” she says. “That’s because many of these people don’t know the insects they are trying to control or have the basic knowledge on how to manage the problem.”

However, Flanders says these challenges can be overcome.

First, she says people must understand there is no product that can be sprayed on top of grain that will kill insects that are living deep in the mass of stored grain.

“You really have two options. Feed out the grain you have and start fresh or control the insects infesting your grain.”

For the second option, Flanders says you have to move the grain out of the infested container. Then, you have to treat the grain to kill the insects and then store it in a clean container.

There are several ways to kill insects in small quantities of grain.

• Freeze the grain at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 days;

• Bake it slowly, at about 130° F for 30 minutes;

• Treat it with an insecticide as you are loading it into a clean container.

Flanders says people can use any insecticide approved for the type of grain you have.

“But the problem may be that you don’t need much insecticide to treat small amounts of grain, so you end up buying and then having to store a large amount of leftover insecticide.”

Flanders emphasizes it is important that people be able to correctly identify grain pests before purchasing insecticides. The Maize weevil and lesser grain borer attack whole kernels and will do the most damage.

Three other pests, the red flour beetle, the indianmeal moth and the saw-toothed grain beetle, eat broken kernels and flour.

For more information on managing insect pests in stored grains, check out this Timely Information Fact Sheet.

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