Grain bugs enjoying hot summer

The Canadian Grain Commission says warm summer on the Prairies has increased the risk of insect infestation in stored grain. Grain producers can take steps now and prevent insect infestations in stored grain, according to the Canadian Grain Commission.

"This year we’ve had a mild winter followed by a warm summer. In these conditions, insects, such as the rusty grain beetle and the red flour beetle, can increase in number dramatically," explains Brent Elliott, infestation control and sanitation officer at the Canadian Grain Commission.

Before harvest

Even before harvest begins, insects may be attracted to bins if there is enough debris for them to feed on. Producers can prepare their empty bins for storage by:

• Ensuring bins and areas around bins are clean and free of debris
• Repairing or sealing any cracks or crevices. Even small amounts of grain can attract insects.
• Treating bins with a registered insecticide
• Cleaning and treating aeration plenums and spaces under bins floors where debris may collect and attract insects.

After harvest

To maintain overall grain quality and minimize insect pest problems once grain is in storage, producers should:

• Dry grain before storing it, if necessary, to bring it to the recommended moisture content. The Official Grain Grading Guide’s specifications for dry grain are:
– Barley (all except select): 14.8% moisture or less
– Wheat (all classes) : 14.5% moisture or less
– Oats (all) and Barley (select): 13.5% moisture or less
• Use aeration to help control the heat and moisture of grain in storage, particularly if grain is stored at a high temperature.
• Bring grain temperature below 15°C as quickly as possible.
Keep the temperature of grain low and uniform, below 15ºC.
• If using aeration, keep the surface of the grain inside the bin as level as possible to avoid the collection of moisture in the cone.
• Monitor grain routinely to ensure insects are not becoming a problem.

Articles and videos on managing insect pests are available on the CGC website.

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