New ‘break’ fumigant for stored-grain pests

A large-scale evaluation of sulfuryl fluoride to control phosphine-resistant stored-grain pests has found that it offers a viable alternative to phosphine, which could help break the resistance cycle and extend the life of this important chemical. Grain insect pests are proving more difficult to control on-farm and in bulk storage sites across Australia. Resistance to several chemical treatments, including the key fumigant phosphine, have reduced available control options.

Led by Dr Manoj Nayak, the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has been working with the grains industry to develop sulfuryl fluoride as a phosphine-resistance breaker.

Sulfuryl fluoride is used to fumigate closed structures to control a range of insect pests. It is non-flammable, non-corrosive and can be used on a range of commodities and structures, including flour mills.

Dr Nayak and his research team have recently completed a large-scale evaluation of the fumigant at an industry storage site at Yelarbon, Queensland. The insect pests used in the trial included lesser grain borers, rice weevils, red-rust flour beetles and rusty grain beetles; all were strongly resistant to the fumigant phosphine. The screening of the test insects after the fumigation revealed complete control of all four pests.

The research team concluded that the time to re-infestation after sulfuryl fluoride fumigation is at least three months.

The research team recommends that sulfuryl fluoride (ProFume®) is only used where phosphine-resistant insects are suspected as a break treatment to phosphine. It must be applied by a licensed fumigator who has been trained through the Dow AgroSciences Precision Fumigation Program.

Like phosphine, sulfuryl fluoride must only be used in sealed silos. Repeated fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride may lead to future development of resistance or residue-related problems.

More information:

Plant Biosecurity CRC
02 6201 2882


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