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Grape growers aren’t the only ones confronting new pests. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is battling two new apple pests in British Columbia.

Apple maggot, first recorded in Canada in 1896, was discovered at several locations in Abbotsford, an hour’s drive east of Vancouver, last August.

British Columbia was previously free of the insect, which is a major pest of apples in eastern Canada. The maggot burrows through fruit, discoloring the flesh and leaving it vulnerable to fungi. The maggot is a quarantine pest in Canada.

April Ingraham, regional program officer in the B.C. Interior for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said the maggot likely entered the Abbotsford area from Washington State. U.S. officials identified the maggot in Washington just south of Abbotsford last year.

Maggots were also discovered last year in backyard gardens in Edmonton.

Ingraham said the agency is erecting signs at the Alberta border to help raise awareness of the pest and prevent it from gaining a foothold in the Okanagan.

Apple clearwing moth

Another newcomer is the apple clearwing moth, a native of Europe. The pest was discovered in the Similkameen Valley last year, which was the first sighting in North America. CFIA trapping activities have since identified it in the southern Okanagan and Fraser Valleys.

Dr. Hugh Philip, tree fruit specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands in Kelowna, said there is no clear indication of how the pest was introduced to the province, but the initial insects may have arrived as eggs on nursery stock.

“We’re just not sure,” Philip said.

Reliable information on the potential impact of the moth won’t be available for two to three years, but in the meantime, federal authorities will continue monitoring for the insect.

Ingraham said the CFIA is consulting with the industry prior to declaring the moth a quarantine pest.

Growers in Washington State are also on alert for apple clearwing moths,
he said.