A process for removing or killing California red scale, Aonidiella aurantii (Maskell), from citrus fruit as a postharvest treatment was evaluated. The process subjects the fruit to vacuum, steam, and vacuum that physically removes red scale from the fruit and kills those scales that are not removed from the fruit. Different numbers of cycles and steam temperatures were compared for efficacy in removing scale from lemons or killing those that remained. Multiple (two to three) cycles removed up to 96% of first molt scales on the fruit, but they were much less effective in removing other stages, especially those that had advanced beyond the second instar. However, it was extremely effective in killing the scales remaining on the fruit. Although this process does not eliminate cosmetic damage caused by scale presence, it might be used in combination with high-pressure washers currently used in packing houses to allow importers and exporters to meet the most stringent quarantine requirements. Because of its killing power, this technique should be tried on other insects and commodities to see whether it can be substituted for certain uses of methyl bromide.
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Vol. 97 • No. 6