Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Don’t Cross the Line: WSDA Expands Apple Maggot Quarantine

Karla Salp
Pest Program 

Apple damaged by apple maggots
As the old saying goes, don’t let a bad apple spoil the barrel. In an effort to protect Washington’s many barrels of apples, WSDA expanded the apple maggot quarantine area effective Jan. 1.

Recently, WSDA found apple maggot in the southeastern corner of Lincoln County. The expanded quarantine now includes a portion of Lincoln County to prevent further spread of the pest. The quarantine prohibits the movement of homegrown or foraged fruit from the quarantined area into a pest-free area.

WSDA has held public meetings in the process of changing the quarantine boundaries and mailed postcards to residents in or near the new quarantine area to alert them to the change.

Apple Maggot Quarantine
Apple maggot quarantine effective Jan. 1, 2017
The apple maggot larva looks like a tiny white worm that eats its way through an apple, leaving behind a brown mush that is not fit for human consumption.
Apple maggot quickly spread through Western Washington after its introduction, but state and local efforts have so far prevented it from becoming established in the main apple growing regions of the state.

Searchable Map

WSDA has updated its apple maggot webpage with lots of information for commercial growers, home owners, and more. One of the features of the new website is that it now contains a searchable map. The new map allows anyone to enter an address and find out whether the address is inside or outside the quarantine area.

Apple Maggot and Garbage
Adult apple maggot fly

WSDA also clarified a rule that prohibited the transport of municipal and green waste from quarantined areas into pest-free areas. For the homeowner in a quarantine area, this means they cannot take yard waste or garbage to dumps or transfer stations in the pest-free area. Waste from a quarantined area can be taken to any waste facility that is also in the quarantine area.

More than apples - What to do with your fruit

Apple maggot can spread quickly when humans move fruit (including apples, crab apples, hawthorn, cherries, pears, plums, and apricots) into pest-free areas. That is why WSDA prohibits the movement of fruit from inside the quarantine to outside of the quarantined area.

So what can you do with your fruit if you live in a quarantine area? Here are some ideas for managing your fruit and yard waste.

  • Process (cook, can, juice, dry, etc.) homegrown fruit before transporting outside the quarantine area.
  • Compost or destroy yard waste at home.
  • Take yard waste to a green waste disposal area inside the quarantine area.
If you have more questions about Washington’s apple maggot quarantine, visit agr.wa.gov/PlantsInsects/InsectPests/AppleMaggot/ to learn more.