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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Kaolinite-Based Particle Films to Control Tribolium Species (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)

item Arthur, Franklin

Submitted to: Journal of Stored Products Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 6, 2001
Publication Date: November 30, 2002

Interpretive Summary: Diatomaceous earth is a natural product that can be used to control insects in milling and processing plants or in food warehouses. However, some commercial dust formulations contain silica, which can limit their use in some organic markets. Adult red flour beetles and confused flour beetles, two common insect pests of food warehouses, were exposed to kaolinite-based particle film dusts that do not contain silica. One particular film controlled both insect species, though the red flour beetle was more susceptible than the confused flour beetle. Survival of confused flour beetles increased as relative humidity increased or when the beetles were put on wheat flour after they were exposed to this particle film, similar to results from studies with diatomaceous earth. Kaolinite-based particle films appear to be potential alternatives to diatomaceous earth or even conventional insecticides for controlling insect pests in areas where food is processed and stored, including organic markets.

Technical Abstract: A series of experiments was conducted in which adult Tribolium castaneum Herbst, the red flour beetle, and adult Tribolium confusum DuVal, the confused flour beetle, were exposed to kaolinite-based particle films. When beetles were continuously exposed to hydrophobic particle film M-96-018 at the rate of 0.1 to 0.5 mg/cm2, all T. castaneum exposed to 0.1 mg/cm2 were dead after 3 days, but 40% of the exposed T. confusum were still alive after 7 days. At higher concentrations all T. castaneum were dead after 2 days, but 5 to 6 days of exposure were needed to kill all T. confusum. In a second experiment, adults of both species were exposed for 8 to 72 hours to 0.5 mg/cm2 of particle film M-96-018, then removed and held without food for 1 week. No T. castaneum survived, while survival of T. confusum ranged from 0 to 55%, depending on the original exposure interval. In a third test conducted at 40, 57 and 75% RH and 27 C, T. confusum were exposed for 8 to 72 hours to particle film M-96-018 and a hydrophilic particle film M-97-009 at the rate of 0.5 mg/cm2. Survival of T. confusum exposed to particle film M-97-009 was usually 100% at all conditions, while survival of T. confusum exposed to particle film M-97-018 increased with increasing relative humidity and with the presence of food. Particle film M-96-018 was highly effective against both Tribolium species, and appears to have potential for use in management programs to control beetles within storage facilities.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015
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