Controlling Stored Product Insects (SPIs) in Food Processing Industry With Heat

September 2, 2021

Stored product insects (or SPIs) that infest food-feed processing plants and warehouses are becoming increasingly tolerant and resistant to chemicals. To combat this resistance, companies within the food processing industry such as flour mills and cereal processing plants can benefit greatly from heat treatment.

Research Shows Heat Is a Safe & Effective Structural Treatment When Compared to Chemicals

In a recent article for Milling and Grain, Raj Hulasare, Ph.D., a Senior Scientist and Product Manager for Thermal Remediation, explained the benefits of heat treatment. Research shows that heat is a safe and effective alternative to chemical fumigants for structural treatment. In fact, heat treatment has been used since the early 1900s.

In 1910, more than 20 mills in Kansas proved that no stage of an insect, even the egg, could withstand heat. Fast forward to the present, heat treatments have been performed successfully by major food and grain processing companies throughout the US and Canada for over 100 years.

How Efficient Is Heat?

Findings from Temp Air sponsored research in collaboration with Kansas State University (1999) highlighted that the temperature range of 50°C to 60°C (122°F to 140°F) is effective to kill all the life stages of an insect’s life cycle. 

Generally, adult insects were quickest to die with the larval stage surviving over five hours for some insect species. Overall, all life stages are killed when exposed for more than five hours at a time, including adults, pupa, larva, and eggs.

Unlike toxic chemical treatments, a heated space can be inspected during treatment. Additionally, chemical treatments require a buffer zone of 150 feet or more during fumigation. Using heat treatment, all adjacent facilities such as offices and shipping and loading areas require no evacuation.

Spot or partial heat treatment of specific areas within a large structure is highly effective, unlike chemical fumigants. It’s also completely non-toxic with no risk of corrosion or ozone depletion.

Thermal Remediation’s Heat Treatment Process

Thermal Remediation from Temp-Air® is the safest, most effective, and environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical fumigation. Our process uses 100% outside fresh air to create positive pressure while managing the hot air distribution via a system of ductwork, fans, and a real-time wireless temperature monitoring system.

There are three steps to our heat treatment process:

  • Visit and assessment: We’ll visit your facility to ensure heat treatment is an option for you. We’ll then send you a quote based on your specific needs and facility requirements.
  • Facility treatment: We’ll schedule your heat treatment and perform a pre-heat inspection for maximum efficacy. We raise the heat gradually to avoid thermal shock to your structure and maintain it for 24 hours. During this period, we’ll conduct frequent inspections to monitor insect activity.
  • Post-treatment: After treatment, we cool the treatment area down and prepare a wrap-up report to be discussed with you. The entire heat treatment of your structure should be completed in less than 36 hours.

Through this process, we’ve supported many companies through the complete extermination of insects in their facilities. Spanning more than twenty years of heat treatments in the food industry of North America, Europe, and Asia; it has been conclusively proven that a hold time of 24 hours after attaining a minimum temperature of 50°C/122°F effectively kills all the life stages of an insect’s life cycle. 

Combat Insects in Your Food Processing Plant With Thermal Remediation

Beetles, weevils, and moths are no match for Thermal Remediation’s patented heat-treatment process. To learn more about heat treatment for stored product insects, call us today at 800-836-7432 or send us a message.

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