Propane Powers Pest Control in Grain Storage Structures

 Propane Powers Pest Control in Grain Storage Structures 

Washington, D.C. (April 9, 2007) – New research funded by the Propane Education & Research Council could provide farmers with a non-chemical, environmentally friendly method for eliminating pests from farm storage structures like grain bins and silos. Tests by Purdue University, a leader in insect control research, will determine the effectiveness of propane heat for killing grain insects like the maize weevil and red flour beetle that damage stored grain. The tests will also evaluate the heat’s ability to remove mold prior to long-term storage.

“Propane-fueled pest remediation holds great potential for the ag industry and the propane industry,” said PERC Director of Agriculture Programs Mark Leitman. “Farmers will have an environmentally friendly method of insect control in grain bins and other storage areas. For the propane industry, this could equate to sales of nearly 9 million gallons of propane per year to protect the billions of bushels of grain produced throughout the country.”

TEMP-AIR, America’s largest supplier of temporary heating and cooling equipment, designed and introduced the MHT-1500 mobile heat treatment unit that will be tested during the thermal remediation research project. The research team, led by Dr. Dirk Maier of the Purdue agricultural & biological engineering department, developed tests to measure how effective the heat treatments are and the necessary exposure time for killing the entire life cycle of the insects. Current testing includes pilot trials in bins at the Post-Harvest Education and Research Center near West Lafayette, IN.

TEMP-AIR’s thermal remediation process involves heating an empty grain structure to 120 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately eight hours. Prolonged exposure to this heat kills the entire life cycle of the insects, without damaging the structure itself. The 1.5 million Btu per hour heater will burn 15 gallons of propane per hour.

“TEMP-AIR has provided successful thermal remediation for food processing facilities since 1999,” said Bruce Lindsay, director of business development at TEMP-AIR. “Expanding into grain storage will allow our company to eradicate insects and improve food safety from the grain bin to the processing plant.”

The insect control experiment continues until September 2007 and tests the extent to which propane heat treatments prevented insects from infesting the structure and damaging the stored grain. Field demonstrations will be held during 2007.

A TEMP-AIR mobile heat unit will be on display at the annual National Propane Gas Association Southeastern Convention, April 15-17, in Atlanta, GA. Visit PERC at booth 606 for more information.

“This new research project is another for way for PERC to meet its goal of bringing efficient and innovative uses of propane to the agriculture industry,” said Leitman. “We’re excited about the potential this technology holds for farmers and propane marketers.”

PERC’s vision in agriculture is that, by 2010, the agricultural industry will recognize propane as a preferred energy source offering exceptional value. This value is achieved through a unique combination of product benefits, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, reliability, portability, and environmental friendliness.

For more information on PERC and its programs to promote the safe and efficient use of propane in agriculture, call (202) 452-8975 or visit