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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Research Project #428737

Research Project: Evaluation of Cold Temperatures and Reduced-Risk Insecticides to Control Stored Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Project Number: 3020-43000-033-06-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2015
End Date: May 31, 2020

Stored-product insect populations are usually controlled by the use of insecticides, including the fumigants phosphine in stored grains and sulfuryl fluoride in mills. However, the development of resistance to phosphine, and the potential safety issues posed by fumigants, necessitates the evaluation of new reduced-risk insecticides and non-toxic methods such as use of extreme temperatures for control of insect pest populations. Although heat treatments can be used to control insect pests in mills and warehouses, there are few studies evaluating the use of cold as a disinfestation strategy. The objective of this collaboration is to determine effectiveness of reduced-risk insecticides and also cold temperatures to control stored product insects.

Populations of representative stored product insect pests species found in the USA and in Greece will be collected and reared under laboratory conditions. Bioassays in the USA will be carried out in order to assess the effectiveness of different combinations of cold temperatures and exposure intervals in controlling life stages of confused flour beetle, the sawtoothed grain beetle, and the psocid Lipocelus bostrychophila. Temperatures utilized will be -18, 10, 5, and 0°C. Additional cold-temperature tests will be done at -18°C to determine exposure intervals necessary to kill immature stages of the lesser grain borer, larger grain borer, and the rice weevil inside grain kernels. Research evaluating new reduced-risk insecticides for control of stored product insects will be done at the University of Thessaly with graduate students under the supervision of Dr. Athanassiou. These tests will be done by evaluating a range of doses of a particular insecticide for control of the larger grain borer, a potential invasive insect species in both the USA and in Europe. Dr. Athanassiou has several field strains of this insect that are being reared in his laboratory.