Research carried out by the Queensland Post Harvest Research Team reveals that storage pests are least active during the colder months of the year. This presents the best time for grain storage hygiene as pests are removed before their breeding cycle shortens and they become mobile.
Successful grain storage hygiene involves cleaning all areas where grain gets trapped in storages and equipment. Grain pests particularly like dark, sheltered areas and can survive in a tiny amount of grain.
Common places where pests are found include:
- empty silos and grain storages
- auger hoppers
- aeration ducts
- augers and conveyors
- field bins and chaser bins
- left-over bags of grain
- spilt grain
- equipment and rubbish around storages
- seed grain
- stockfeed grain.
A thorough cleaning job provides a reduced chance of pests harbouring. Using a broom or compressed air will remove most grain residues, a follow-up washdown removes grain and dust left in crevices and hard-to-reach spots.
Bags of left-over grain lying around storages and in sheds create a perfect harbour and a breeding ground for storage pests. After collection bury, burn or spread waste grain and residues to less than 20mm depth away from the storage. Dumping grain within one kilometre of storage facilities allows insects to easily breed up and fly back to infest grain in storage.