“But the time is very near when we shall have the precipitation of the moisture of the atmosphere under complete control, and then it will be possible to draw unlimited quantities of water from the oceans, develop any desired amount of energy, and completely transform the globe by irrigation and intensive farming. A greater achievement of man through the medium of electricity can hardly be imagined.”
“The Wonder World to Be Created By Electricity.”Manufacturer’s Record, September 9, 1915.
I’ve mentioned grain mites in passing but I haven’t gotten into the details, so here’s the lowdown on a problematic critter.
Grain mites are very small and insanely prolific insects that get into grain, feed, flour, etc. They can destroy a store room of livestock food and hitch a ride into your kitchen. These were the bane of my existence for the past year at the feed store.
Grain mites turn the feed and can make animals sick. The first sign of an infestation is an off or sour smell in the feed room, rather than the normal pleasant sweet grainy smell. To confirm mite activity look at the stitching on the ends of bags. At the holes where the thread goes through you will see mounds of fluffy tan dust. A little bit of dust is normal (feed is dusty) but mites will appear in fluffed up piles and if you examine these closely you’ll see them moving. The first image shows the bag stitching with piles emerging. The second photo shows a pile of mites that’s fallen onto a bag on a shelf below the bags they were initially infested. The third photo shows the mites themselves, they are easiest to see on the dark part of the label. They are very small specks, barely visible to the naked eye, apparent by their movement.
Grain mites are a royal pain in the ass. They are so small that they can be flung like dust and spread far and wide so sweeping them isn’t advised. They require a moisture source in their food and go after sweet feeds containing wet molasses or anything that gets damp. Their populations explode in hot and humid conditions and they literally move in waves from one location to the next.
The easiest way to deal with mites is to not let them into your storage. Inspect all bags and feed both when you buy them as well as routinely. Pull anything at the first sign of trouble and clean the area well. Vacuuming works best but be sure not to leave a vacuum full of mites in the same place you’re cleaning.There is not a single chemical you can spray that is safe to put in contact with feed and still effective at killing mites, making them difficult to eradicate from the environment, but knowing their living requirements will help slow them down. Cold and dry are key. Switching to feeds made with a powdered molasses also makes a big difference. I will share with you a method I pioneered that I haven’t heard of anyone else using and the exterminator I was working with called “brilliant”.
Get out the Diatomaceous earth and start dusting it everywhere! DE, a fine powder cheaply available from farm and garden centers is the fossilized remains of diatoms or marine phytoplankton. Any critter with an exoskeleton will be killed by DE, it damages it and causes them to dehydrate. It’s not dangerous to kids, people, or animals unless you breath it in (like any fine powder) and of course you would’t want it to get blown in your eyes (again, like sand or any fine powder). It can really dry your hands. DE is about as innocuous as they come. I like to add it to chicken dustbaths to combat feather mites and in a mote around the base of my house to keep carpenter ants out. It’s is safe to eat and can be mixed right into feed!
To deal specifically with grain mites I rub it into all the wood shelves/surfaces that contaminated feed was stored on and nearby, into the outsides of bags to keep infestations out or to keep infestations already present from migrating to others, dust it under shelves and hard to reach places where mites can hide and make motes/barriers between affected and clean areas. I use a broom and gloved hands to spread it around. You can buy DE in bulk 50lb. bags and apply it with a cup or similar vessel, shake it carefully so you don’t get a face full of dust and wear a pair of work gloves because it will really dry out your hands. You can also wear a face mask and googles for extra protection. The powder is very fine and soft and will adhere easilly to surfaces. It can be swept or vacuumed later, just give it time for mites to come in contact with it. Unlike pesticides, DE application means your organic feed is still organic and poses no risks to animals. It is also safe to consume. If used outside it won’t be effective when wet, but will start working again once it dries out. It poses no risks to soil but it can hurt beneficial insects like bees (anything with an exoskeleton) so apply it in strategic areas, at the source of problems and not far and wide. It can also be sprinkled in carpets and across thresholds of homes and swept or vacuumed later and makes a great addition to animal/livestock bedding to stop the spread of parasites.
let me tell you about farm boy — whose name idk yet, but last name is miller
he’s a good, too good. will do anything for anyone. puts others before himself. in is tiny farming community he grew up in, was known as the sweetest kid. mrs. jenkins calls him her grandson, despite not being his grandson & mrs. jenkins hates everyone
grew up on a quiet country ( dirt ) road, very used to the smell of animal shit.
his families farm was big, between having a lot of acreage to farm crops, they had all sorts of animals too !! chickens, hogs, cows, goats, ducks, two horses & rabbits.
did both 4-H & FFA. actually was president of both clubs at some point.
top of his AG class in high school, was also captain of the foot ball team.
‘ howdy ya’ll ’ is his actual catch phrase.
not from the south though, actually from ohio.
family is actually very accepting of his sexuality, despite devout christan status & can’t possibly wait to meet either their daughter-in-law or son-in-law
happy-go-lucky, happy all the time. you’ve never seen someone this happy.
tries to cover up the guilt he feels, when his little brother drowned in the family pond, a few years ago, while he was babysitting.
has no idea what a meme is tho, doesn’t even know how to use social media, back country roads don’t exactly give you good internet or cell phone reception.
I got creative with the blender and goats milk and whipped up these amazing caramel frappes!
Made with Sanka (we wanted caffeine-free but you can use any instant coffee crystals), milk, ice, and flavoured syrup, dressed with whip cream, cookie, and caramel. They were identical to a fancy coffee shop drink for a fraction of the cost and from the comfort of our homestead!