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Inappropriate food storage may result in parasite infestation. Some parasites may be
harmful to your birds. The infestation usually occurs before the grains are sold to
shops or dealers. In form of eggs or larvae some parasites invade your household
unnoticed. In the worst case, they will multiply uncontrollably and infest anything
containing grains or starch.
Many parasites thrive not only in bird seeds, but also in flour, oatmeal and any other whole food. To avoid a (massive) parasitic infestation, you should always store grains and seeds in a way preventing an epidemic spread of parasites.
Other parasites cause an odd smell. Still others are big enough to be easily detected, e.g. beetles. But on the other hand, some beetles are very small and therefore it's not easy to find them. But in case you think that the grains may be infested with beetles, you should put the bird food into a transparent food container or an empty jar. Then close the lid and place the food container or jar into direct sunlight. The warth and the brightness will change the behaviour of the beetles. They will come out and climb up the walls. You can easily detect them there and on the lid.
What to do
Mites and flour mites
To check your food for mites, try the following: put seeds in a small cup and make sure they form a mound. Leave it undisturbed over night. If the next morning some seeds are scattered around the cup and the mound in the cup looks "flattened", the seeds are infested with mites. Never feed mite-infested seeds to your birds, it may lead to serious indigestions and allergic reactions, in the worst case with fatal consequences.
Grain moths and Brown House-moths
In theory, food infested with grain moths is edible for birds, if you deep-freeze it for 2 days after detecting the moths or grubs, thus killing the parasites. The birds may even eat the dead moths. Still, it is not very hygienic to stock food containing dead parasites. I therefore recommend to discard parasite-infested grains.
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