METHOW VALLEY - In an effort to retard the spread of the Apple maggot and further safeguard commercial fruit interests, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is expanding its quarantine zone for the invasive species.
Beginning Nov. 9, the cordoning will officially begin in parts of the Methow Valley to the north of Gold Creek in Okanogan County.
Under the quarantine, the removal of any privately grown or foraged fruit from the restricted area will be expressly prohibited. The quarantine also impacts the transfer of household and municipal refuse by mandating residents within the affected zone separate their green and household waste for disposal. This change will modify protocols at both the Twisp Transfer Station and the Okanogan County Landfill, which are both managed by Okanogan County Public Works.
Apple maggot is an invasive pest that can ruin a number of crops other than its namesake, including cherries, pears, and plums. It can also adversely impact hawthorn and crabapples.
There are currently 24 counties in Washington either partially or entirely under a quarantine for apple maggot. The species has never been found in any commercially packed fruit from the state.