Insect Invasion

July 20, 2009 07:00 PM

Rachel Duff, Farm Journal Intern

Corn and wheat stored through the summer months have the potential to house insects in their depths, on the surface or both. It's important to check the grain regularly, says Wayne Bailey, associate professor for the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri.
The Indian meal moth is the most common critter found in the upper 12” of the grain, and the larval feeding causes moist areas in the grain that emits a sour smell and thick webbing, he says. These infestations can usually been seen or smelled from the roof access. If you have such an infestation, you can hire a fumigator to get rid of these pests.
To check the rest of the grain mass for insects, you can do some probing using a grain probe to collect samples through the side access panel. They should then be placed in a container and stored in a warm area of at least 60° or higher to see insect activity, Bailey says. But if the grain was leveled and treated properly with an appropriate insecticide after storing it last fall, it's best not to break the protective cap.
If you have an infestation of various flour beetles, grain weevils or other stored grain beetles in the grain mass, you can immediately feed out the grain or hire a fumigator, he says. It's best to hire a fumigator if fumigating is the best option because the poisonous gases associated with fumigation can be dangerous.
Advice for next year when first storing corn and wheat:
  • Sanitation is the most important step.
  • Clean up the grain bins.
  • Treat the bins with insecticides labeled for use inside and outside the bins.
  • Pick up the grain scattered around the bins.
  • Treat the grain when storing.

For More: Integrated Pest and Crop Management newsletter

You can e-mail Rachel Duff at

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