University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)


Can you help me with insect infestation problems in my dried fruits?

Category

Insect Control

Question

I need some information about studies on pest control in Dry Fruits as we face infestation problems due high temperatures and humidity levels.  Would you be able to provide us with a detailed study on pest control /fumigation of dry fruits to increase its shelf life? (R.M.)

Answer

Nuts and dried fruits can be damaged during storage by various stored-product insects. Infestation by insects can be minimized by use of good sanitation, fumigation with an approved chemical fumigant (such as phosphine and methyl bromide; fumigant concentration and treatment time depend on the insect), and physical protection against reinfestation. Irradiation (250 Gray to prevent insect reproduction or 750 Gray to kill the insects), heat treatments (50 to 60C for a duration that depends on temperature and the insect of concern), freezing (at -18C or lower for at least 48 hours), and controlled atmospheres (oxygen levels below 0.5% and/or carbon dioxide levels above 80%; balance nitrogen) provide alternative tools to chemical fumigation for insect control. Storage below 13°C will prevent insect feeding damage and reproduction. Storage at 5°C or below will control insect infestation. Packaging in insect-proof containers is highly recommended to avoid reinfestation.

 

The following link provides a list of books on postharvest insect control: Postharvest Publications - Insect Control
I recommend that you consult one or more of these references (especially #15 and 16) for more details.  –Adel Kader

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Webmaster Email: postharvest@ucdavis.edu