Tiny intruders can get into grains

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August 18, 2023

Anna Berry

Anna Berry, technical director at B&G

In the world of stored products, grain-based goods can quickly become the harborage and food source for tiny arthropods. While we often associate beetles and moths with grains, there are even tinier intruders that pose a threat: psocids (insects) and grain mites (arachnids). These minuscule pests remain undetected until their population sizes surge, revealing what appears to be “moving dust” on packaging, storage bins, or shelving. Confirming their identity requires capturing a sample and examining it under a hand lens or microscope, where psocids or mites can be identified. Pitfall traps and insect monitoring boards also can yield valuable evidence.

Though psocids and mites belong to different pest families, the approach to control remains similar: Modify the environment. These pests thrive in high-humidity conditions, making moisture control and sanitation crucial. Simply introducing a fan to enhance air circulation can render the environment inhospitable for them.

Regular monitoring, prompt action upon detection, and educating clients about the significance of environmental modifications will help keep these intruders at bay.

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About the Author

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BERRY is a technical director at B&G Equipment. Previously, she worked as training manager for McCloud Pest Management Solutions, South Elgin, Ill. She is a Board Certified Entomologist, ServSafe certified and instructor and proctor for the National Restaurant Association and is certified in HACCP. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in grain science from Kansas State University.

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