Scientists visit area

The Okanagan’s Sterile Insect Release program is gaining international attention.

SIR is hosting a global group of specialists in the science of controlling insect pests in Kelowna until Friday.

“Our 20 years of using an area-wide approach to controlling the devastating pest of apples and pears, the codling moth, is envied around the world,” said Cara Nelson, SIR general manager.

Specialists in area-wide integrated pest management and sterile insect technology will be attending from the U.S., Europe, China, Malaysia, Chile, Tunisia and South Africa.

“The world wants to know about what we’re doing; about how we’ve been so successful at reducing the amount of pesticides used in this valley,” she said.

The week-long visit is an official research co-ordination meeting on increasing the efficiency of Lepidoptera SIT by enhanced quality control, held by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the International Atomic Energy Agency, based in Vienna, Austria.

The Okanagan SIR program was initiated because of the damage codling moth causes to commercial apple crops.

Data collected by the provincial environment ministry shows the volume of pesticides formerly used per acre against the codling moth in the valley has dropped about 90 per cent since 1991 and there has been more than a 90 per cent reduction in the level of codling moths in the valley.


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