Ozone (O3) fumigation is a potential quarantine treatment alternative for controlling stored-product pests and surface insect pests on fresh agricultural commodities. We explored the effects of temperature, treatment time, controlled atmospheres, and vacuum in combination with O3 to control two important pests of ornamental crops: western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), and longtailed mealybug, Pseudococcus longispinus Targioni Tozzetti. Treatment parameters tested were O3 concentrations from 0 to 3,800 ppm, treatment durations were from 30 to 120 min, vacuums were from 0 to 0.41 bar below ambient, temperatures were from 32.2 to 40.6°C, and controlled atmospheres were composed primarily of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or breathing air [BA]. Treatment efficacy was enhanced by higher O3 concentration and temperature, lower oxygen, and longer treatment times. Reduced pressure was not an important factor. Mealybugs were more difficult to kill than thrips. A 30-min treatment of O3 at ≈200 ppm in 100% CO2 at 37.8°C killed 47.9 and 98.0% of mealybugs and adult female thrips, respectively. All of the ornamentals tested were damaged to some degree by O3 treatments. However, crops with thick leaves such as orchids exhibited little damage, and the waxy portions of certain flowers were not damaged. The results suggest that O3 has potential as a quarantine treatment to control thrips and mealybugs on selected commodities.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2