Pests Are a Constant Challenge to Plant Hygiene

May 7, 2007
They're not a regular part of plant clean-up chores, but pests are a constant challenge to plant hygiene and obviously are a critical component to keeping any plant truly hygienic.

"If you have an active drain, there are some good bacteria-based products available," says Ron Harrison, director of training for Atlanta-based Orkin Commercial Services ( "They are cousins to those used in oil spills. If there's grease, the bacteria will chew it away so pests won't have a feeding source."

One product in that category is OE 30, Orkin's Environmental 30-Day, an environmentally friendly product that eats away grease and grime. It is a unique product to the pest-control experts specifically because it does not contain pesticides, but relies instead on naturally occurring enzymes and bacteria. "But it does require water to be effective," Harrison adds.

In the storage of commodity ingredients, methyl bromide is being phased out as a fumigant, due to its ozone-depleting characteristics. The Codex Alimentarius Commission last summer adopted maximum residue limits for sulfuryl fluoride, an alternative to methyl bromide. That enables the export of commodities around the world that have been fumigated with ProFume gas fumigant, which uses sulfuryl fluoride as its critical ingredient, according to Dow AgroSciences (, Indianapolis.

Pro-Fume has been used in more than 150 commercial fumigations and is labeled for use in all 50 states. An expanded label was registered by the EPA in 2005 for tolerances in food processing facilities, including dried fruit and tree nuts, and cereal grains.

Last year, BASF (, based in Research Triangle Park, N. C., introduced Phantom Termiticide-Insecticide for Ant & Roach Control, which is suitable for food handling facilities. It is a water-based formulation that lasts long and operates effectively at low chemical concentration. Moreover, the company claims it is almost odorless and leaves little residue.

BASF claims insects can't detect its active ingredient, chlorfenapyr, by taste or smell. After the pests ingest it, they cannot create energy. Eventually they become paralyzed and die. The product's potency permits low-dose applications in specific areas where pests congregate. It can also be used in conjunction with other pest control methods.

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