Shielding the packaging from pest attack!

Gone are the days when we used paper or foil packaging to protect the goods. Plastic packaging took over the paper packaging and solved many problems like mechanical damage, damage due to moisture, weight, smell, texture, etc. Plastic packaging reduced the usage of paper products and contributed to the gradual decrease in cutting of trees and conserved the environment. Plastic films now have myriad applications in all sector like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, construction, automotives, aerospace, etc. According to the Global Industry Analyst, Inc, the global market for plastic films is projected to reach 68.4 million tons translating to USD 117.6 billion by 2020, driven by growing demand from packaging as well as non packaging applications.

However, these plastic films which are used in storing the materials or goods in storage units or warehouses have a huge threat from insects. These vile creatures damage the packaging of the material and can sometimes further damage the material itself, resulting into huge monetary loss.

Packaging pests are classified into two categories, penetrators and invaders. Invaders are insects that typically have weakly developed mouthparts at both the larval and adult stages. The invaders account for more than 75% of the infestations. Invaders commonly enter packages through openings resulting from mechanical damage, defective seals, or holes made by other insects penetrating the package. The newly hatched larvae of invaders typically cause the most damage because they are able to fit through holes as small as 0.1 mm wide. Most infestations are the result of invasion through seams and closures, and rarely through penetrations. These refuges provide a safe place to lay eggs and also give the newly hatched larvae an ideal location to invade the packages.

Sitophilus.oryzae.7438Insects classified as penetrators are those that can chew holes directly into packaging materials. Penetrators are most dangerous at the larval stage, though some beetle species can also be dangerous as adults. Insects such as the lesser grain borer, the cigarette beetle, the warehouse beetle, the rice weevil, the cadelle, and the larvae of the rice moth, are known to be good package penetrators and are capable of boring through one or more layers of flexible packaging materials. The larvae of the Indian meal moth, under some conditions are also good penetrators and may be the most serious pests of packaged foods. The warehouse beetle, classified as a penetrator, is more specialized in the food products it infests. It can create an additional problem to the consumer because the cast skins of the larvae can cause allergic reactions. The drugstore beetle is a strong penetrator and infests a wide variety of foods.

downloadAside from stored-product insects, which do not feed, most stored-product insect adults and larvae feed in order to sustain themselves. When faced with consumer food packages both invaders and penetrators will take advantage of any sort of opening in a packaging material in order to gain entry. These openings may form as a result of the chewing of penetrators, as rips, tears, or as punctures resulting from normal wear and tear throughout the handling process. Openings in packaging may also be made deliberately by the manufacturer in the form of “vents” which allow pressure equalization. This way, the manufacturer can avoid the bursting or shrinking of food packages during shipment over changing altitudes and temperatures. In most cases, insect pests enter packages through existing openings that are created from poor seals, openings made by other insects, or mechanical damage. Most infestations are the result of invasion through seams and closures, and rarely through penetrations.

Throughout the years many solutions like the use of pesticides and insecticides are proven to be ineffective. They are toxic in nature and kill the target species as well as non target species. It apparently decreases the quality of the product. Moreover, the chemicals used in insecticides are harmful to human health. There is a need of non toxic, environmental friendly solution.

C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to overcome this problem. Termirepel™– anti termite and anti insect polymer additive is an ideal solution to repel insects like termites, ants, grasshopper, beetles, bugs etc. Termirepel™ masterbatch can be incorporated in plastic packaging films and sheets.

Termirepel™ follows 6 pronged strategy which is extremely effective on insects as well as rodents. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It does not volatilize and does not degrade in the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted.