Freeze Mortality Characteristics of the Mold Mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae, a Significant Pest of Stored Products

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The mold mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Shrank) is a common pest of stored food products. Until recently, commodity and facility treatments have relied on acaricides and fumigants to control this mite. However, T. putrescentiae will cause infestations in areas where acaricide or fumigant use may be restricted, prohibited, or highly impractical. Because temperature is an essential factor that limits the survival of arthropod species, extreme temperatures can be exploited as an effective method of control. Making low-temperature treatments reliable requires better temperature-time mortality estimates for different stages of this mite. This was accomplished by exposing a representative culture (eggs, nymphs, and adults) of noncold-acclimated T. putrescentiae to subfreezing temperatures to determine their supercooling points (SCPs), lower lethal temperatures (LLTs) and lethal times (LTimes) at set temperatures. The results indicate that the adult and nymphal stages of T. putrescentiae are freeze intolerant; based on 95% CIs, the adult LLT90 of −22.5°C is not significantly different from the SCP of −24.2°C and the nymphal LLT90 of −28.7°C is not significantly different from the SCP of −26.5°C. The egg stage seems to be freeze tolerant, with an LLT90 of −48.1°C, significantly colder by ≈ 13.5°C than its SCP of −35.6°C. The LTime demonstrates that 90% of all mite stages of T. putrescentiae can be controlled within commodity or packaged product by freezing to −18°C for 5 h. By achieving the recommended time and temperature exposures, freezing conditions can be an effective way of controlling mites and reducing chronic infestations.

Keywords: Acari; Acaridae; disinfestation; nonchemical control; supercooling point

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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