University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)


Effects of CO2 used alone for insect control

Category

Insect Control

Question

I read about your project where you combine acetaldehyde and CO2 for control of invertebrate pest species, and am interested in investigating the possibilities for using CO2 fumigation solely, as a means to completely control all invertebrates in timber and wood products for export. I belive CO2 will take a long time to work - but this is a smaller problem concerning wood than food products. I am writing to ask you if you know why CO2 is rarely used alone - do you apply acetaldehyde to speed up the pest control, or has CO2 been tried with too vague results? I am in the very early stages of considering the project and have not been able to find much literature on effects of CO2 used alone. (T.L.)

Answer

: CO2 has insecticidal activity against a wide range of insect pests. As you mentioned, the limiting factor is generally the tolerance of the fresh food product or the amount of time available to conduct the treatment but this is not an issue for timber. It is required to have a fairly well sealed facility, although CO2 has been applied in temporary plastic tents used for the fumigation of homes and other structures. I would like to refer you to our web site where we have summary tables of the research that has been conducted on controlling insects with controlled atmospheres, including low oxygen and elevated CO2. -- Beth Mitcham

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