Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Dieudonne Baributsa

Committee Member 1

Larry Murdock

Committee Member 2

Charles Woloshuk


Food security is a serious issue throughout the world. An estimated 700 million people in developing countries currently lack the food necessary for an active and healthy lifestyle (World Bank, 1999). Competition with insect pests for food has always been a challenge. An estimated 20-30% of the grain can be lost postharvest due to insect pests alone (Tefera et al., 2011). To reduce postharvest losses and improve food security, alternative storage solutions are needed to replace the traditional, and often-ineffective storage methods employed by smallholder farmers. Hermetic grain storage is an airtight technology that provides a cost effective and insecticide free pest control option. With the more recent focus on reducing postharvest losses via hermetic technology, there is a need to investigate the postharvest management practices of smallholder farmers in new regions where the technology has yet to be introduced, such as in the Americas and the Caribbean countries. There is also a need to increase our understanding of hermetic environments and factors that affect their efficacy including insect oxygen consumption, insect population density and varying temperatures. In Chapter 1, I report the results from a study investigating the oxygen requirements of Callosobruchus maculatus Fabricius and Plodia interpunctella Hubner under normal atmospheric conditions. In chapter 2, I report the results from trials on the effect of high and low temperatures and variable insect population densities on the survival of C. maculatus during hermetic storage. In chapter 3, I report the results of a survey on assessing postharvest management practices of smallholder farmers in Haiti.