In laboratory experiments, a flameless catalytic infrared emitter, fueled by propane, was used to disinfest hard red winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L., containing different life stages of the lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica (F.), an economically important insect species associated with stored wheat in Kansas. The emitter generates infrared radiation in the 3–7-µm range. The life stages of R. dominica exposed to infrared radiation included eggs, larvae in different stages of development, pupae, and 2-wk-old adults. A noncontact infrared thermometer measured grain temperatures continuously during exposures of infested wheat to infrared radiation. The grain temperatures attained were influenced by wheat quantity; distance from the emitter; and exposure time, which in turn influenced effectiveness against various life stages of R. dominica. In general, higher grain temperatures were attained in 113.5 g of wheat as opposed to 227.0 g, and at 8.0 cm from the emitter surface rather than at 12.7 cm, and during a 60-s exposure compared with a 45-s exposure. Logistic regression indicated the probability of death of various life stages of R. dominica was temperature dependent. The log odds ratios showed old larvae were less susceptible to infrared radiation than young larvae. Approximately ≥94% mortality of all R. dominica life stages occurred when using 113.5 g of wheat, exposed for 60 s at a distance of 8.0 cm from the emitter, resulting in mean ± SE wheat temperatures that ranged between 107.6 ± 1.4 and 113.5 ± 0.5°C. Our results with small grain quantities show flameless catalytic infrared technology to be a promising tool for disinfestation of stored wheat.
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Vol. 103 • No. 4