Codling moths remain a problem for Okanagan apple growers

Problem areas for pest include Summerland, Penticton and Naramata

The Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release program has been in place for close to 30 years, but orchardists are still facing problems with codling moth infestation in some apple orchards.

Melissa Tesche, general manager of the program, said Summerland, Penticton and Naramata have been struggling to control the pests.

The codling moth is a small grey moth whose larvae feed on apples, pears and related fruit. It was accidentally introduced to British Columbia from Europe in the early 1900s and has caused damage to apple and pear orchards.

Depending on the temperatures, the moths can produce several broods in a season.

The Sterile Insect Release program involves pairing sterilized male insects with wild female insects. The females are unable to produce offspring.

The work was researched at the Pacific Agri-Fod Research centre in Summerland over 30 years and the program was initiated in 1992.

The first sterile codling moths were released in the South Okanagan in 1994 and in the central and north parts of the valley in 2002.

READ ALSO: New tool to help Okanagan fruit growers deal with pest management

READ ALSO: ‘Serious pest’ starting to invade the Okanagan Valley

While this program has controlled the growth of codling moth populations, the pest has not been eradicated, Tesche said.

She added that the moths are not a problem in all orchards. Instead, the worst 10 per cent have 75 per cent of the codling moths and the worst one per cent have 25 per cent of the moths.

Tesche said climate change is one challenge in dealing with codling moth populations.

Another challenge is the movement of wood and bins from orchards, since larvae will hide in tree bark.

The moth larvae can hibernate in bark of tree trunks for up to two years.

As a result, fruit growers are urged not to store or sell firewood from infested trees. Instead, the trees should be burned, chipped or otherwise destroyed.

The small orchards in the region are also a factor in codling moth problems.

In some cases, small orchards were purchased as retirement properties and are being managed by inexperienced farmers who do not understand how to control the moth populations.

In other cases, a fruit grower is farming several small parcels, which creates challenges when spraying for the moths.

Staffing is also a challenge, Tesche said. The program has a general manager, 16 full-time staff and around 70 seasonal staff.

When the program was started, there were around 8,900 hectares of apple orchards in the Okanagan and Kootenays. Today, that number has dropped to around 3,300 hectares.

Since funding is based on parcel and land taxes, the reduced land for apple orchards is affecting the money collected for this program.

However, the program has been able to sell some sterilized moths to Washington State for use in a similar program there.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh returns to Penticton Oct. 19

He is hosting a rally to boost local NDP candidate Richard Cannings’ campaign efforts

Cannabis edibles, extracts legalized today in Canada

You can now legally purchase weed brownies!

South Okanagan man honoured with lifetime achievement award

The late Nick Bevanda to receive a lifetime achievement award for his architecture work

South Okanagan dangerous offender guilty plea struck down

Trial delayed again because Ronald Teneycke failed to elect his choice of trial

VIDEO: Fire destroys Shuswap home, residents unharmed

Blaze took three hours for Chase firefighters to extinguish

Kamloops man hangs on to back of stolen truck as suspect speeds away, crashes

The pickup truck was seen leaving the roadway before bursting into flames

Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Island pharmacist shares concerns, recommendations before flu season hits

Interior Health approves reopening of Shuswap elementary school

Sicamous facility, closed since Sept. 20 due to health concerns, to be back in operation on Nov. 13

Viral video sensation brings skills to Okanagan

Jacob Moon joins Hear the Music for concert and workshop

Walk this way, if you dare at North Okanagan farm theatre

Caravan Farm Theatre near Vernon presents Walk of Terror

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Most Read