August 24, 2016 - 9:00 PM
PENTICTON - The Okanagan’s Sterile Insect Release program is getting international recognition as program executives seek new commercial opportunities in order to reduce costs.
Acting general manager Melissa Tesche says the sterile insect release program received the Award of Excellence at the International Integrated Pest Management symposium held in Salt Lake City in March 2015.
Tesche said the program achieved a rate of less than 0.2 per cent damage to 90 per cent of the valley’s apple crops due to coddling moth for the first time in 2015.
She expressed the importance of growers and private fruit growers to work with the program to maintain their orchards and trees.
“One or two infested trees will keep an orchard’s wild population alive and well,” she said, adding with the past two years’ early growing season in the orchard agriculturalists needed to watch more than just the calendar these days.
Tesche said pesticide use to control coddling moth has decreased by 96 per cent since the program began in 1992, along with a 94 per cent decrease in wild coddling moth captures. The program inspected 9,000 trees last year.
Future ambitions of the board include a search to find ways for the program to generate sources of alternative income, Tesche said, even though the program has gone six years without a tax increase.
The program has been selling sterile moths to New Zealand and a trial program is taking place in Italy. They are also pursuing moth sales in France and Germany in the hopes of maximizing the sterile insect programs’ facility in Osoyoos.
The Sterile Insect Release program consists of an eight member board composed of five regional district appointees and three grower representatives nominated by B.C. Fruit Growers Association. All three Okanagan regional districts are represented on the board.
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