U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



J. Econ. Entomol. 96(4): 1345-1351 (2003)


This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


The use of elevated temperatures (≥40-60°C) or heat treatments for managing insects in food-processing facilities is a viable alternative to space fumigation with methyl bromide. Quantitative data are lacking on the responses of life stages of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), an important pest of food-processing facilities worldwide, to elevated temperatures used during heat treatments. We determined time-mortality relationships for eggs, young (neonate) larvae, old larvae, pupae, and adults of T. castaneum, exposed to constant temperatures of 42, 46, 50, 54, 58, and 60°C. Generally, mortality of each stage increased with an increase in temperature and exposure time. Young larvae were the most heat-tolerant stage, especially at temperatures ≥50°C. Exposure for a minimum of 7.2 h at ≥50°C was required to kill 99% of young larvae, whereas the other stages required ≤1.8 h. Heat treatments that control young larvae should control all other stages of T. castaneum, and young larvae should be used as test insects to evaluate efficacy against T. castaneum during an actual facility heat treatment. These results provide the basis for successful use of elevated temperatures for management of T. castaneum life stages associated with food-processing facilities.