June 13, 2019

Heat treatment to control insect infestations in the milling industry

by Raj Hulasare, PhD, P. Eng, Senior Scientist and Product Manager, Thermal Remediation, USA

Heat treatment is an effective environmentally benign pest management tactic to kill all life stages of stored product insects by attaining and maintaining elevated temperatures in the range of 50° to 60°C.

Heat treatment is performed in a scientific manner to manage stored-product insects, without any damage to structure, machinery or storage structure. Heat treatment is highly effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tool to control insect infestations in food-feed processing plants, warehouses and storage structures.

History and renewed interest in heat treatments
Heat treatment of mills dates back to the 1900s. Over a century ago (1910s), heat treatment in more than 20 mills in Kansas proved that no stage of insect, even in the most inaccessible places, could withstand heat.

Several mills in mid-west US and southern Canada corroborated the practicability and efficiency of heat to control insects. Heat treatment has been performed successfully by major food and grain-processing companies for the past 60 years.

The three main drivers for renewed interest in heat treatments are:

• Consumer preference for pesticide-free products
• Heightened interest in environmentally-friendly technologies or using the “Go Green” approach
• Increased tolerance/resistance of insects to chemicals.

A safe, effective, and viable alternative to chemicals
Heat is an effective, nonchemical, nontoxic, nonresidual, and noncorrosive alternative to chemical fumigation. It is an effective and viable eco-friendly approach to control stored product insects without the chemical-associated environmental or health risks to people, animals, or surroundings.

With the 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1998 amended US Clean Air Act, mandates were established to start phasing out the production of methyl bromide due to its connection with depletion of the ozone layer. Except for critical use exemptions, methyl bromide is being phased out of structural fumigations and has been subjected to more restrictions.

The resistance of insects to phosphine and, to a lesser extent, methyl bromide (MB) is also now an acute problem worldwide. Phosphine, the most widely used fumigant, has been shown to corrode electrical circuitry and the components of processing plants.

The high tolerance and resistance of insects to chemicals requires alternatives to control insect populations effectively and economically. These factors spurred the use of heat treatment to control insects.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

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