Letter Re: Animal-Grade Grains and Bugs

Hello Hugh.

With regard to your comment about animal-grade grains and bugs, I had the same problem several years ago and I have found a very effective solution. In fact, before I found a solution the weevils were so bad that when I was near the bags of grain I could hear them rattling around in there and they quickly spread everywhere. I store many bags of corn, chicken scratch, and barley without so much as a single bug now. The solution is diatomaceous earth. Bugs hate it. In fact weevils and moths simply cannot live with it. Fleas and mites are also killed by it, and it gets rid of some internal pesticides when ingested. When I stack my bags of grain, I use a powder-puffer (I bought at Amazon.com) to puff diatomaceous earth on the bags between each layer. I wear a protective mask while I do this, because inhaling diatomaceous earth isn’t recommended. I also puff some of it in with my storage of rice and human-grade grains, which I previously also had problems with bugs. No more bugs. – J.P.

Hugh Replies: Diatomaceous earth is one of those things that no gardener or prepper should be without. It has so many uses, we may have to write an article just on it in the future. Another item I have been experimenting with is recovering grain that has been infected with bugs. Most bugs really don’t harm humans that consume them. It’s more of a cosmetic issue with the food with possible long-term storage issues. Most of our grain is vacuum packed and the bugs cannot survive in that environment. What is needed is an easy way to clean the grain. One of my experiments is using a section of PVC pipe to drop the grain through with a shop vacuum attached to the top. If the vacuum level is set right, you can safely vacuum dust and bugs out of the grain while the grain itself falls to the bottom into a bucket. The hope is that even if the grain is infected with bugs (larva), vacuum packing will kill them or prevent them from maturing, and the vacuum will clean them out, making the grain usable. My major concern is if the integrity of the grain berry is compromised, how will that affect the long-term storage of that grain.

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