M.O. Way on Rice: What’s in Your Grain Bin?

    Adult female Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner). Photo: Lyle Buss, University of Florida

    Rice storage pests have become more problematic due to increased yields and poor markets.

    I think many farmers are storing last year’s rice because they have not yet sold it. In addition, last winter was relatively mild. Farmers probably did not obtain good control of these pests when cold air from outside was blown into storage bins in hopes of controlling the insects or slowing development. Also, many stored rice insects can infest rice grains developing in the field.

    Last week I was called out to a farm to look at some insects infesting stored rice where I found Angoumois grain moths (AGM). They are common, serious and abundant pests of stored rice. The adult moths lay their eggs on or near rice grains. After hatching, the larvae bore into the grains, then feed and develop.

    AGM are primary invaders which means they can bore into and feed on whole, undamaged grains. Once adults emerge, they begin looking for more grain to oviposit on. The adult moths are somewhat fragile and cannot “dig down” into the grain bin, so the infestations are confined to the surface, unless the grain is mixed (like going from 1 bin to another).

    Indian meal moth (IMM)  is a secondary invader, which means it is more likely to attack and feed on broken grains and rice bran than whole, undamaged grains. The larvae produce silken webs which encase fecal matter and old cast skins. Again, infestations are usually confined to the surface of rice at the top of bins. Sanitation is very important in preventing economic losses.

    Tips to Keep in Mind:

    • These insects are cold-blooded, so the higher the temperature, the faster the development resulting in more damage.
    • Good cleaning of your bins including beneath the floors is crucial to helping control the AGM.
    • Selected Insecticides are labeled for control. If you want more info along these lines, contact me 409-239-4265 or

    The Rice Advocate

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