Insect control in stored grain

Ken Bullen, Philip Burrill and Peter Hughes
September 2007


Photograph of grain silos

Grain silos

If insects in grain are left untreated, the grain will, be unsaleable to most buyers, be reduced to dust by the insects feeding on it and go mouldy because of the heat and moisture released by the insects.

Grain insects are present on most farms in harvesting machinery, stockfeed, grain spills, and old seed.  Some of the insects fly between farms and between storages, and others walk or are carried in handling equipment.  Unless insect control measures are applied, grain quality and value is likely to be reduced.

There are no simple short cuts for storing grain safely.  If insects are detected as grain is outloaded for sale, treatment is likely to delay the delivery by two to four weeks.  Unless you plan for insect control and have the necessary equipment, you should not be storing grain.

Key points

  • most markets want grain free from insects and some want freedom from chemical residues, so check with potential buyers before you treat with chemicals
  • clean grain handling and storage equipment and dispose of or treat old infested grain
  • aeration cooling reduces insect activity, but may have to be used with other methods in summer
  • chemical sprays are registered only for cereal grains, not pulses and oilseeds There are no simple short cuts for storing grain safely. 

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Last updated 15 October 2007