Controlling Pests in Stored Feed

Feed is expensive today, so there’s absolutely no reason to waste it on insects. But if you open the bag and discover an army of hungry bugs already hard at work, what can you do?

For starters, you can reassure yourself with the knowledge that the bug invasion may not be your fault. It is quite possible to open a brand-new bag and discover that you purchased an infestation along with your feed. The only thing you can do to prevent this is to buy feed from a different source.

But once you already have a problem on your hands, an easy solution is to mix diatomaceous earth (DE) with the feed. Feed-grade DE is a safe, natural pest remedy that we highly recommend for all animal owners. You may have already read about using DE to control parasites in and on your livestock. Here you have a new use for this handy powder—keeping the feed free of bugs.

There is no precise formula for treating feed with DE. On a large scale, some sources recommend using 7 to 10 pounds of DE per ton of grain. If you’re dealing with a 50-pound bag, just take a standard garden trowel and mix a couple of scoops into the feed. You don’t have to coat every pellet or individual grain, but you will ideally see a slight gray or off-white cast to the whole container. Of course, you can always go back and add a little more the next day.

Two cautions are in order:

  • Do not use pool-grade DE. It is toxic!
  • Avoid inhaling DE dust. The small particles may damage your lungs.

A simple solution, but one that might save you quite a few dollars in feed over time. And, if you observe the cautions above, it is safe for your animals, too!