Wheat School: Insects You Don't Want to Find in a Bin

Lesser grain borer beetle (Canadian Grain Commission)
Lesser grain borer beetle (CGC)

Grain is in the absolute best condition it can be when it’s put into storage. Keeping it that way is critical for maintaining its value and marketability.

Insect infestations aren’t as big a problem for farmers in Canada as in other (read: warmer) parts of the world, but they can still cause significant damage.

Typically, 1 to 2.5 percent of the cargoes tested by the Canadian Grain Commission have insect pest issues of one kind or another, but early results are showing the infestation number is higher — around 4 percent — this year, explains Blaine Timlick, stored products entomologist at the Canadian Grain Commission, in this Wheat School episode.

Find more Wheat School videos here!

Rusty grain beetle, red flour beetle and granary weevil (all shown in the video below) are some of the most common species, but there’s a new destructive pest popping up — the lesser grain borer beetle. Summer surveys showed it has been found across Canada, but particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

“That’s one that we have not seen in the past,” he says. “We’re doing a project and looking into the demographics of that insect in Canada and we’re finding it more and more. The reason we’re doing it is this insect is a very damaging beetle, even compared to rusty grain beetle.”

Watch this Wheat School video for more with Blaine Timlick on common pests in stored grain:

How to check for insects:

  • Sample the grain from the core at a depth of 30 to 50 cm (12 to 18 inches) from the surface.
  • Insects are likely to be found in pockets of warm or moist grain.
  • Sieve the samples or examine small portions carefully. Typically, stored product insects are very small beetles (less than 3 mm or 1/8 inch) that may not be moving.
  • Use a magnifying glass.
  • Find identification tools on the Canadian Grain Commission website.

Stay tuned for a follow-up Wheat School episode on preventing and managing insect infestations in stored grain.

Related: Stored Grain Insect Identification Key Launched


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