Methyl Bromide Fumigation
The insecticidal value of methyl bromide was first reported in France on 1932. During the 1930s it was widely adopted for plant quarantine purposes because many plants, vegetables and some fruits were found to be tolerant to concentrations effective against the insects concerned. More recently it has been used extensively as an industrial fumigant for stored products, mills, timber, agricultural products, empty containers, food stuffs, warehouses, ships and railway cars.
Methyl bromide is an effective and versatile fumigant. The most important of these, is its ability to penetrate quickly and deeply into sorptive materials at normal atmospheric pressure. Also, at the end of a treatment, the vapours dissipate rapidly and make possible the safe handling of bulk commodities. Another important property is the fact that many living plants are tolerant to this gas in insecticidal treatments. Methyl bromide is nonflammable and non-explosive under ordinary circumstances and may be used without special precautions against fire.
Fumigants only control existing infestations in the cargo they do not provide any residual protection against subsequent re-infestation. Consequently timber treated by fumigation must be packed in container or shipped within 21 days of treatment. During this 21 day period it should be stored safely or cross infestation may occur. After Completion of Methyl Bromide Fumigation when agro products are taken for repacking, care should be taken to maintain the repacking area pest free and good hygienic practices should be followed in order to avoid cross infestation between fumigated and un-fumigated cargo.
Methyl Bromide is the ONLY fumigant permitted under the ISPM 15 standards for wood packaging materials used in exporting commodities. A variety of methods are utilized to fumigate solid wood packing materials in preparation for exportation to other countries. One method is to load containers with the wood packaging material (pallets, boxes, crates, etc.) and administer the gas for a specified period of time while another way is to "tarp" the WPM and fumigate. Other methods have been to fumigate individual pieces of solid wood and keep them in a secure area to prevent re-infestation until needed to create the packaging.
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