Pest Control Using Heat Treatment

A Thermokil heater

Our heat treatment for pest control kits are the product of over ten years of research, development and commercial testing and represent the cutting edge of heat treatment equipment. Used also for heat treatment of bed bugs and SPI and for drying of buildings for booklouse and plaster beetle control

Thermokil now offer our own heat treatment services either working with pest control companies or directly for major food manufacturers or hotel groups.

Thermokil heat treatment technology has been used for the control of insect problems in almost any situation from flour mills, bakeries, and other food factories, to bed bugs in hotels, aircraft and private homes, to wood worm treatments in houses and of course kiln services for ISPM 15.

Heat treatment from a trailer

We provide equipment, training, support, spares and servicing for our entire range and are always available to advise on a complicated job or to train new staff.

Heated gas chambers are a solution to the problem of high treatment times using Phosphine gas - our system reduces treatment times to a few days. This process is already in commercial use treating bulk product that is suspected of being infested before being taken into the factory.

Flour Mill Insect Control

Heat treatment of a flour mill from the outside

Stored Product Insect (SPI) Control in flour mills and other related mills is an important yet complex process. It requires, not only a specialist understanding of the biology and habits of the likely pest insects, but of the unique features of the complex flour milling process and production requirements of an often high volume, low margin industry. Insect control post methyl bromide is therefore complex and expensive, but still very necessary.

Such conflicting interests can often lead to millers being acutely aware of the cost/return relationship for cleaning and pest control. This can be a difficult balance but it is essential to get it right.

Flour and other millers can be divided into different groups depending on the key markets they have chosen to attempt to supply. Suppliers to the Marks & Spencer / top end of the market will be able to command a degree of premium on their product, however in return M&S and the like demand and expect zero detectable infestation levels, meticulous hygiene and cleaning standards supported by appropriate full genuine documentation.

Heat treatment of a flour mill on the inside

The middle, larger section of the market is devoted to production and a pragmatic cost effective approach to insect control, realistically sticking to the letter of their customers’ requirements and legal requirements of food safety, but working together with their customers to achieve “acceptable” levels of insect control and food hygiene at “the right price”.

At the budget end of the market and in many feed mills and some pet food providers, we still see significant insect infestations that are not controlled properly, not picked up by EHOs and with customers purely fixated on price. There is no concern about, or understanding of the potential perils of shipping out infested products. I would qualify this by saying there are some pet food and feed manufacturers whose insect control and hygiene practices put many food manufacturers to shame!

Insect control can be divided into two stages – “Assessment” and “Control”:

Assessment stage:

Inspecting for flour beetles and insects

Where exactly is the infestation located, not in terms of visible dead adult beetles or moth on the floor, but where are the eggs, larvae and pupae – the core of the infestation, and in what numbers?

How does the location of the infestation and numbers of insects relate to risk to the product? - A moderate sized Rust Red Flour beetle infestation in 2nd BK rolls is of less immediate threat than a small infestation of Broad Horned Flour beetle in a finished product bin, or a few mill moth on a flour packer.

Where did the infestation come from and where is it likely to spread to? – Rust Red Flour beetle are quite capable of coming from grain – check grain monitoring systems, likewise some mix back and sweepings can be put back into the system at 2nd BK roll stage, so this may be the source. However they could theoretically go all the way if conditions are right to infest the whole mill. However in many mills, they tend not to like pure flour and Confused Flour beetle or Broad Horned Flour beetle become dominant in the UK.

What deficiencies in the mill process management have allowed the infestation to develop? For example:

  • Lack of proper checking of raw materials, wheat, returns, pallets, bags, tankers etc.
  • Poor dust control or exhaust leading to external dust problems or internal humidity problems.
  • Inaccessible dead spaces inside machinery or in fabric of building.
  • Poor cleaning of accessible dead spaces due to inadequate training or supervision of cleaners.

Heat Treatment Gallery

Gallery of photos relating to the heat treatment process.



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