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using chemiclas in grain bins

I never had bug problems in the bins till this summer. I found out that phosfume will kill bugs. But I also found out that malathion can be mixed in the grain in the bin. That means the malathion will be in the grain when it is sold. That doesn't make sense to me. If that grain is fed to cows or it is used to make cereal, the malathion will be ingested. It is all legal. But is using malathion the right choice, when phosfume could be used and there would be no grain contamination.

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3 Replies

Re: using chemiclas in grain bins

You might never have had any problems with insects, because you marketed your grain before the temp of the grain came up above an average of 45 degrees. You can go for years without having a problem...then store grain into August and find out your bin is infested. I'm moving soybeans right now..that show no infestation. Yet last night, I crawled to the top of the first bin I emptied to shut the lid, and there were those little red beetles crawling all over. Must have liked the warm air up there! Hose down the bin with Malathion, spray some in front of your fans so it blows it into the plenum...and get your grain "COLD" when you put it in. It works for me.

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Honored Advisor

Re: using chemiclas in grain bins

As long as you use any pesticide in accordance with its label instrucitons, including when and where it may be used, you shouldn't create a health risk to consumers or livestock. 


Even a gaseous appliation imparts molecules of the pesticide into contact with the grain.  Just like you smell a perfume soemone is wearing across a room, the molecules have moved to the point of being detectable by your olfactory organs, due to their concentration in the air of the room. 


There is a level below which the chemical contamination is undetectable, where it's not legally an issue. 


I would think a gaseous application would permeate grain in storage better than a liquid or powder.   Anyone want to weigh in on that point?   

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Veteran Advisor

Re: using chemiclas in grain bins

If it is corn in that bin, and if it has a ventilation fan, I'd suggest using INSECTO.  You do not have to climb in the bin, and scatter it around.  You set the fan to blow air into the bin, and dribble a measured amount of Insecto into the fan intake, and it turns gaseous, and fumigates the bin.  All you then do, is climb up, and shut the manholes when you shut the fan down.

Smiley Tonguehosfume turns into an immediate gas, and in the confines of a bin, has the potential to overwhelm the person applying it.  Here in Nebraska, I belive a couple people actually died from using it in a bin, and a person can no longer use it, unless they have a full commercial pesticide applicator's license (cost - something like $500+ the cost of classes you must take to be certified, and the classes take all day).  Be sure and check your extension office, to see what the law says.  In Nebraska, the law has changed, and you can no longer use Phosfume in grain bins the way you used to.

I belive about all that a farmer can do here anymore, is use Insecto, or malathion.  If that won't do it, you are far better off hiring a commercial exterminator, to take care of it.

The sad thing, is many farmers are now 'stuck' with Phosfume pellets, that they don't know what to do with.  You can't use them without a commercial license, you can't throw them in a landfill, so what do you do?


On an 'average' year, I have corn stored well into July, and my best advice, if you have a concrete floor, is to pre-treat it with malathion powder BEFORE you put corn in (just sprinkle it lightly on the floor around any cracks, and around where the floor meets the bin, a cheap dollar store flour sifter works perfectly for this).  With a full perforated floor, I have never had a problem, if you run the fan occasionally, to get rid of any warm spots.   That, and a little (malathion) on top will keep my bin bug-free into August, most any year.  Also, in the winter, get the corn just as cold as you can, that seems to halt bug activity.   I run the fan overnight when it is a cold crisp zero, or even below, which seems to help, as well.

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