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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Insect Infestations in Bucket Elevators
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ARS researchers Dennis Tilley,  Mark Casada, and  and K-State researcher Josephine Boac conducted a study called "Incidence and Spread of Insects from Bucket Elevator Leg Boots" to see how insect infestations spread from the elevator boot and pit area to the grain stored in the elevator. 

Red Flour Beetle

Maize seeds with insect damage

Maize Weevil

The Problem: research has shown that commercial grain elevator storage facilities can quickly become infested with stored-product insect pests.  These infestations are likely carried over from one year to the next in equipment or other areas that accumulate residual grain. Many locations can be identified where infested residual grain accumulates but, the largest collection point within the handling equipment is often the bucket elevator leg boot.

Project Overview:  Laboratory pilot-scale boots were infested with four levels of insect densities: zero, 50, 100, and 200 adult insects of each species per kg of grain.  Corn samples were infested with red flour beetle, weevil, and grain beetle.  Wheat samples were infested with the lesser grain borer, rusty grain beetle, and red flour beetle.

Conclusions and Impact:  Insect density levels in the grain was higher when commingled with internally infested grain left in the elevator boot leg area.  Insects can be reduced by performing clean outs of the boot area every 30 days, removing and disposing of residual grain, floor sweepings and grain spillage from the pit area.

Resources for this study:


Last Modified: 9/2/2016
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