Okanagan and Similkameen apples orchards are the only ones free of apple maggots.

Okanagan and Similkameen apples orchards are the only ones free of apple maggots.

Local apple protection urged

Public’s help is needed to protect the Okanagan’s apple industry from a neighbouring pest

  • Aug. 12, 2012 7:00 a.m.

The public’s help is needed to protect the Okanagan’s apple industry from a neighbouring pest.

Apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella), a serious apple pest, is established in the Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

The Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys of B.C. remain the only commercial apple-producing regions in North America free of this serious pest.

“The introduction of these pests would be devastating to the hardworking families that make up our apple industry,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster. “We grow the best fruit in the world in the Okanagan, so please don’t jeopardize our livelihood.”

The co-operation of all citizens will help prevent the spread of Apple Maggot from the Lower Mainland to B.C.’s commercial fruit growing areas.

“The apple maggot is a significant potential threat to our fruit crops,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “It is up to the people of B.C. to prevent the spread of these pests by not bringing fruit or fruit trees into our region.”

What can you do to help prevent the spread of apple maggot?

Do not take any fruit (apples, crabapples, hawthorn, pears, plums) or any fruit bins or other containers used to hold apples, out of the Lower Mainland.

Do not take plants with garden soil that were grown near fruit trees (apples, crabapples, hawthorn, pears, plums) out of the Lower Mainland.

If you receive fruit from the Lower Mainland that appears to be infested, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) or a Ministry of Agriculture office.

Do not compost any apples that appear to be infested with apple maggot. Place the fruit in a sealed plastic bag and bury it at least 30 cm deep, or take it to the local landfill for burial.

Please contact the CFIA at 604 557-4500 if you are planning to move any host fruit or host trees with soil, or host nursery stock, out of the Lower Mainland.

Another pest, the apple clearwing moth, (Synanthedon myopaeformis), has been found in Coastal B.C., Cawston, Keremeos, Oliver, North Osoyoos, Kelowna and Belgo. The larvae burrow inside the bark and may not be visible. To prevent this pest from spreading in the Okanagan and Creston Valleys, do not move fruit trees, soil and rootstocks from infested areas.

“We all need to do our part in preventing the spread of these pests,” said Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater. “The apple industry is very important to the Okanagan and B.C.’s economy; to support our jobs, our food supply, and our farming communities.”

Apples are the most valuable edible tree fruit crop in B.C. About 58 per cent of all B.C. orchard land is planted in apples.

About 91 per cent of B.C. apples are produced in the Thompson-Okanagan Region, 48 per cent of which is in the Okanagan-Similkameen valleys.

B.C. produces about 24 per cent of the apples grown in Canada. The value of B.C. apples is about 45 per cent of all B.C. tree fruit production.

More than three-quarters of the B.C. apple crop is sold fresh. The rest of the crop is processed.

Apple juice is the most popular form of processed apples.