Industry concerns over insect resistance, regulatory action, and the needs of organic processors have renewed interest in nonchemical alternative postharvest treatments to fumigants used for California tree nuts. The development of inexpensive polyvinyl chloride containers capable of holding low pressures has increased the practicality of vacuum treatments for durable commodities such as tree nuts. To develop vacuum treatment protocols, we determined the relative tolerance to vacuum (50 mmHg) at 25 and 30°C of different life stages of three postharvest pests of tree nuts: codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.), navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitelle (Walker), and Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner). At both temperatures, nondiapausing codling moth larvae were the least tolerant stage tested. LT95 values for diapausing Indianmeal moth larvae were similar to Indianmeal moth eggs at both temperatures. Indianmeal moth diapausing larvae and eggs were the most tolerant at 25°C, whereas navel orangeworm eggs were most tolerant at 30°C. Field tests using GrainPro Cocoons (GrainPro, Inc., Concord, MA) to treat shelled almonds, Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb, in bins at vacuum levels of 18–43 mmHg at average winter temperatures (6–10°C) showed that diapausing codling moth larvae were the most tolerant under these conditions and that exposures of 7–13 d provided incomplete control. Summer field tests treating in-shell almonds in bags at average temperatures of 25–30°C provided complete control with 48 h exposure to average vacuum levels of 50 mmHg, and navel orangeworm eggs were the most tolerant stage.
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Vol. 102 • No. 5