While heat and sulfuryl fluoride may never fully replace methyl bromide’s spectrum of effectiveness against various insect pests, K-State research has shown that both heat and sulfuryl fluoride are viable non-ozone depleting alternatives for the foreseeable future. 

Now, the researchers have shifted focus from these techniques to using aerosols (fogging), because many flour mills are successfully using aerosols in heavily infested rooms and avoiding the costly whole-structure treatments with methyl bromide, heat or sulfuryl fluoride. However, limited studies show the benefits of aerosols in managing all life stages of the red flour beetle.

Much of the research with aerosols at K-State will be conducted at the Hal Ross Flour Mill, part of the Grain Science Complex on the Kansas State University Campus, and additional tests will be performed in commercial grain-processing facilities.  

The methyl bromide alternatives research is a collaborative effort between K-State scientists, Dirk Maier and Subramanyam from the Department of Grain Science and Industry and Michael Langemeier, the Department of Agricultural Economics; USDA’s Center for Grain and Animal Health Research Scientists Paul Flinn, Frank Arthur and James Campbell; Brian Adam, from Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics; and Linda Mason, from the Department of Entomology, Purdue University. 

To read more about the more technical side of the research and funding, go to http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/story/control_insects090910.aspx to see a companion K-State Research and Extension news release: ”K-State, USDA, and OSU Researchers Seek Best Ways to Control Insects in Warehouses, Food Processing Facilities.” In addition, an audio slide story on Subramanyam’s work is available at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=128.

For more information about the current research, contact Subramanyam at sbhadrir@k-state.edu.