• ethyl formate;
  • Sitophilus oryzae;
  • Tribolium castaneum;
  • Rhyzopertha dominica;
  • mortality;
  • fumigation;
  • forced flow


Ethyl formate is being evaluated as a fumigant for stored grain as it is a potential alternative to the ozone-depleting fumigant methyl bromide and to phosphine, which is under pressure owing to the development of strong resistance in stored grain insects. However, use of ethyl formate faces significant challenges, such as poor penetration through grain, significant losses to grain sorption, high concentrations of fumigant required to control insects, and flammability risks, which have limited its further development. In this study it was found that the combination of carbon dioxide (5–20%) with ethyl formate significantly enhanced efficacy of the fumigant against external living stages of the rice weevil, Sitophilus oryzae (L.), the lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica F., and the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst). Dynamic application of ethyl formate and carbon dioxide mixture (100 mg litre−1 ethyl formate, 20% CO2) pumped through a model silo containing wheat (50 kg) for one gas exchange was also investigated. A flow rate of 6 litres min−1 gave a relatively even distribution of fumigant throughout the grain column and similar mortality levels among cultures of S. oryzae and T. castaneum placed at three positions, the top, middle and bottom of the column. Mortality of 99.8% of mixed stage cultures of T. castaneum and 95.1% of S. oryzae was achieved in 3 h exposures to 111 and 185 mg ethyl formate h litre−1 respectively applied by the dynamic method. It is concluded that the combination of carbon dioxide with ethyl formate and dynamic application enhances distribution and efficacy of the fumigant against stored grain insects. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry