Treatment for keeping weevil from grain/meal

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by sugarspinner, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. sugarspinner

    sugarspinner Well-Known Member

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    A bit of history: We've been grinding cornmeal, grits and wheat flour recently. We did this 25 years or so ago but hadn't done much since then. At that time, we could buy what I remember as sodium disulfide (??), which was used in it's gaseous form to treat grain; eliminating weevil. To the best of my knowledge, that is not now available. I'm aware that freezing and refrigerating are effective but not in the quantities we need. This has to be "food grade" as we sell the meal and flour.

    Do any of you have any tried and true methods for dealing with this problem? I know that the eggs are already there and that heat encourages incubation. I just want to kill the little buggers before they hatch.

    Thanks
     
  2. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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  3. yep i got a sure cure using no chemicals whatsoever. vacumn pack the goods in mason jars i use the tilia adapter with a hand pump originaly sold to bleed auto brake systems. standard and widemouth adapters are available for 10dollars a year ago i had to use 2 sizes of poly tubing to adapt to the proper size for the pump. I can get a 25 inch vacumn on the jars and no insects hatch survive or can get in if you are careful you may even be able to reuse the lids a few times as no heat is involved in setting the lid. Also great for any dry goods storage pasta beans etc. Haven't tried yet but i was thinking it may also extend the life of say fresh berries in the fridge which often seem to start to mold the day after you get them home.
     
  4. I believe all insecticides nowadays are RUP and require a licence & extended training. Then you can get & use them.

    There are products like Insecto and others that are probably based on (sorry for this spelling!!!) diametcus earth, which cuts up the instects bellies. Probably no help, as I doubt they do anything to the eggs, and not sure it's food grade rated?

    --->Paul
     
  5. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Years and years ago, Carbon Tetrachloride (sp?) was used for preserving grain (fumugating actually), but I think that is no longer used.

    One of the easiest methods now is Carbon Dioxide. Use an airtight container. Put some dry ice in the bottom and leave the top open ajar to allow air to escape. When the dry ice has done its thing, seal the container without stirring up the air in the container. Since the carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it will displace the oxygen in the container. Do not close the container until the dry ice has converted to gas or else the expanding gas will possibly do some damage to the container or make a big mess. ---Pow! Watch for flying meral or glass!

    I also have seen a probe (a tube with holes) inserted into a container (hooked to a carbon dioxide bottle) and carbon dioxide is injected into the filled container with the probe. A hand valve (like the squeeze valve when you air up your tires at the gas station) is used to control the flow of the gas. This method allows you to seal the container immediately after filling with gas.

    The latest thing I have used are oxygen absorbers. You can fill #10 cans if you have access to a can sealer or you can use air-tight pouches (multi-layer mylar I think) and heat seal them. The Oxygen absorber will draw the oxygen out of the container. (The absorber is basically powdered iron in a special pouch and the air reacts with the iron making essentially rust--using up the oxygen in the process.)

    I guess the Foodsaver might work if you can draw out enough oxygen, but I have not tried that. I don't know how strong the bags are and if bugs will chew through the plastic in search of goodies. I know mice will.

    Bottom line--don't give the bugs any air to breath. Right now our wheat is in cans with the Ox absorbers. We have some 5 gal buckets commercially treated also.
    Dale (DH of mary, tx)
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    eggs of these insects are durable and may survive the above treatments. The eggs are often in the food and lie dormant until conditions are right.

    some silos still use zinc phosphide to fumigate, check your local processors. They may allow your product to be fumigated at the same time as their facility

    our state allows special use permits for farmers; you take a short course and they give you a permit to buy it without a pesticide applicators license. check your state ag dept

    container (like a semi-trailer) fumigation is common, but more so where food and stuff enters the country. If you are near an import point check with customs people. They may have fumigators on call.
     
  7. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I recently bought a hand crank mill and I love it. I store about 10 pounds of wheat berries in a food grade container in my pantry and the other grain, I vacuum packed with my tilia. The bags are heavy. I have all my pantry stuff in tupperware in my kitchen and then all my other stuff in the basement vacuum packed and in plastic bins. We have no mice and I haven't seen any weevil business. How long will wheat berries keep in a food grade container? Is it normal to come across a discolored wheatberrie once and a while? I just bought the stuff.

    I go shopping every six weeks at a Bj"s nearby (I'm still city living - shaws 2 min. away) - it's part of my spend less and not always be running out of food plan. We even started having our milk delivered in glass bottles recently!

    brural
     
  8. sugarspinner

    sugarspinner Well-Known Member

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    We're actually talking about a LARGE amount of grain-----several hundred pounds. So, vacuum packing isn't practical. We grind this at the State Fair in the Pioneer Village and sell each package with instructions to refrigerate or freeze.

    Also, we package it only in paper or cloth because plastic will hold in any bit of moisture, causing mustiness or even mold. Plastic also acts as an incubator for insect larvae.

    We'd read somewhere about a treatment based on DE but can't seem to find anything on it. Thanks for the links and other info. Anybody have anything else to add?
     
  9. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    diatomaceous earth is food grade EPA/USDA approved for use in grain available in quantity , like you will need

    only other thing i can think of, is bay leaves, i use that at home when storing my big flour buckets ( 5 gallon buckets, 4-5 leaves in a bucket) and lable it as , i dunno "good luck leaf " or something, make it a part of the marketing .....
     
  10. shelf life on wheat kernals is about 25 years vacumn packed i think 20-30 years should be a fair estimate with very little loss in value or taste once ground they degrade rapidly so ground should be used right away for grahm flour which is what you get from grinding whole wheat. life span of course depends on proper storage dry and bug proof. Flavors and some oxygen can pass through most plastics to some extent. glass jars imo are even better than the bags. Of course sunlight can also degrade. corn will not last near as long as wheat.wheat is probably the best keeping grain corn the worst the rest in between.wheat is just like any other crop some is beutiful some not so nice. you should be able to find some with almost no discolored or chaff covered. A farm in russel ks sells 50lb bags of tripple cleaned wheat for about 7-10 dollars red and white winter wheats don't have a link today
     
  11. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    the closest place for me to get white wheat berries (Prairie Gold) is to mail order from pennsylvania it cost about that but w/shipping too. shipping from out west would be more i think.

    i'll proably research that more when I get half way through what I have now.

    thanks for your input.

    brural
     
  12. #1 DogMom

    #1 DogMom Well-Known Member

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    I agree with beth. You can purchase "food grade" DE and use it in any of your grains. I am using it this year for the first time. I buy 50lb. bags of wheat berries and other such grains and put them in 5 gal. buckets. Then I mix in about 1/4 cup of DE per bucket full. For the amounts that you are talking about this seems like the easiest method.

    Leanna
     
  13. If you get a chance you may someday want to try some southern white spring wheat also as that is low gluten and considered the best for pastry biscuit cake and the like. the winter wheats are high glutten and ideal for bread northern growers produce durham a spring wheat which is a high protien noodle wheat.
     
  14. I am not sure if there are any procedures but i am wondering if pateurization may be a chemical additive free method of accomplishing your goal say 160-180f for a couple hours. May be feasable for large quantities may not
     
  15. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    #1, I'm confused. Do you mix DE with ground flour, and then eat it?

    As an exterminator, my experience with these grain pests is that sanitation in the storage area is essential. I am talking about outside the food bins: on the floor, in cracks, on shelves, under furniture and cabinetry, even in outlet boxes, inside wall cavities, under baseboards, on top of light fixtures, and so on. Food dust from processing will get into every crack imaginable and some that you can't imagine. If the food is in tight containers, outside the container is where the problem persists and spreads.

    While DE may work, (I've haven't of this remedy before) using zero pesticides is better. Since you're selling these products, it would be wise to check on what's legal. I know there is a list of acceptable additives and quantities. Its weird: you are using DE to kill bugs which makes it a pesticide, even though it is "food grade."

    If you maintain a high standard of sanitation, then the bugs can only be in the food. There is a clear plastic tool to sample grains that will capture bugs just by inserting them into the grain. Buy one and use it to monitor your product. Monitor often. Keep records. Use tight lids. When you start seeing bugs, slow them down with refrigeration. Have a sale on that product. Cook it up quick.
     
  16. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    DE is not a "pesticide"
    it is anaturally occuring shell of minute sea creatures, it is not a poison by any means, it works mechanically, it has tiny cutting edges, literally millions of them , on each microscopic granuale ( it looks like flour, but dustier)
    and these cutting edges cut through eggs and weevel parts, allowing them to dry up and die


    it is not chemical,


    youre already eating it

    whole corn is stored with it , routinely
    so are most other whole grains,

    http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/storedgrain.html
    http://res2.agr.ca/winnipeg/fs/fs04_e.htm
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/1999/991222.htm

    the goevernment reccomends its use in stored grain , as opposed to other methods

    not to sound snippy or anything, but i am a strong believer in using the least invasive toxic methods to take care of things
     
  17. just wondering if you might explain to us the making of grits? I do know hominy or lye soaked corn is the starting materil but for some reason i was thinking it was just the one little center piece from each kernal is it just a coarsely ground dry hominy?
     
  18. #1 DogMom

    #1 DogMom Well-Known Member

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    Gobug,
    In my last post I stated that I mix the DE with the wheat berries. I don't grind it first, as I like to grind and use it fresh(as I need it). :)

    Leanna
     
  19. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    gobug,

    what is that tool called? I have never seen any signs of bugs in any of my plastic bins - would it be obvious in any way?

    brural
     
  20. sugarspinner

    sugarspinner Well-Known Member

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    Unregistered,

    Corn grits and hominy grits are two different, but very similar foods. Hominy grits are, as you mentioned, made by soaking the corn in lye, then rinsing through many baths and rubbing until the corn hull is removed--------and, of course, all the lye. Then that resultant hominy is dried and ground into grits. That is, ground very coursely and the "fines" sifted out.

    Corn grits are simply very course cornmeal from which the fines have been removed. Most of the time, corn grits is what you get at restaurants, etc. I have no idea what is in instant grits but they taste like library paste so maybe that's it.

    Grits are cooked much like mush then eaten with whatever your little heart desires. This past week I heard recipes including everything from butter and salt, thru most sweeteners, to gravy, onions, shrimp and even Tabasco Sauce. I vote for butter and maple syrup. But then, I'm not southern. I suspect that the big desire for grits in Indiana (and I can attest to that being a fact) comes from Cracker Barrel restaurants introducing them to people who would never have eaten them otherwise.