Methyl bromide, a space fumigant used in food-processing facilities, may be phased out in the United States by 2005. The use of elevated temperatures or heat treatment is gaining popularity as a methyl bromide alternative. During heat treatment, the temperature of the whole food-processing facility, or a portion of it, is raised and held between 50 and 60°C for 24–36 h to kill stored-product insects. We determined time–mortality responses of the confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum (Jacquelin du Val), eggs, young larvae, old larvae, pupae, and adults exposed to six constant temperatures between 46 and 60°C. Responses of all five insect stages also were measured using exposure times of 160, 40, and 12 min at 46, 50, and 60°C, respectively. Time–mortality responses of all T. confusum life stages increased with an increase in exposure time and temperature. Both time–mortality and fixed time responses showed eggs and young larvae to be most susceptible at elevated temperatures and old larvae to be least susceptible. Our results suggest that old larvae should be used as test insects to gauge heat treatment effectiveness, because heat treatment aimed at controlling old larvae should be able to control all other T. confusum life stages. Besides providing baseline data for successful use of heat treatments, time–mortality data collected at the six temperatures can be used for developing thermal death kinetic models for this species to predict mortality during actual facility heat treatments.
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Vol. 97 • No. 6