Overview of Heat Treatment
Heat for insect control is an alternative to fumigation. Recent improvements in heat generating equipment and temperature measuring instruments has made this IPM option more attractive. Likewise, there have also been developments in technical approaches and knowledge of heat effects on buildings and equipment. However, heat is not an option for product, as heat does not penetrate product to any significant degree.
Generally, treatment with heat is not a one-time, stand-alone solution for insect control. Firstly, the use of heat require consideration of some basics. Secondly, sanitation, HACCP and incoming product inspection programs are important considerations with the use of heat. You must not only know what the effects of heat are, you must know how to control them during treatment.
The basics for any treatment with heat are:
- The capability to safely control and circulate the heated air at a target temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit within a specific time.
- The ability to measure temperatures throughout the treated area.
- Assurance that there will be no damage to the structure or equipment from the controlled heat rise, duration and cool-down.
- Assurance of the removal of any commodity or packaged material in the treated area and strategies for all items susceptible to heat damage are in place.
- The building or treated area must obtain and hold the target temperature for the time necessary to reach the lethal effects required.
- The structure must be suitable and capable of safely withstanding the effects of a treatment.
- Above all, the energy source and treatment equipment must meet all safety requirements and be readily available.