Concerns over insect resistance, regulatory action, and the needs of organic processors have generated renewed interest in developing nonchemical alternative postharvest treatments to fumigants used on dried fruits and nuts. Low-temperature storage has been identified as one alternative for the Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner), and navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), common postharvest pests in California dried fruits and nuts. The response of eggs, nondiapausing larvae, and pupae of both species to exposure to low temperatures (0, 5, and 10°C) was evaluated. Eggs of both species were the least tolerant of low temperatures. At 0 and 5°C, pupae were most tolerant, but at 10°C, nondiapausing larvae of both species were most tolerant, with lethal time (LT)95 values of 127 and 100 d for Indianmeal moth and navel orangeworm, respectively. The response of diapausing Indianmeal moth larvae to subfreezing temperatures also was evaluated. Diapausing larvae were very cold tolerant at −10°C, with LT95 values of 20 and 17 d for long-term laboratory and recently isolated cultures, respectively. Diapausing larvae were far less tolerant at lower temperatures. At −15°C, LT95 values for both cultures were <23 h, and at −20°C, LT95 values were <7 h. Refrigeration temperatures of 0–5°C should be useful in disinfesting product contaminated with nondiapausing insects, with storage times of 3 wk needed for adequate control. Relatively brief storage in commercial freezers, provided that the temperature throughout the product was below −15°C for at least 48 h, also shows potential as a disinfestation treatment, and it is necessary when diapausing Indianmeal moth larvae are present.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4