Apple maggot quarantine will be extended into parts of Okanogan County

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The state apple maggot quarantine has been extended into parts of Okanogan County, the state Department of Agriculture announced.

The expansion is the latest effort to slow the spread of the invasive pest and protect commercial apple production.

The expanded area, as of Nov 9, includes the Methow Valley north of Gold Creek in Okanogan County. An apple maggot quarantine is in effect in all or parts of 24 counties, mostly in Western Washington. The state considered adding the area this summer after surveys provided evidence the apple maggot population had spread into portions of the county.

The quarantine prohibits anyone from moving homegrown or foraged fruit from a quarantined area into or through a pest-free area. The quarantine affects both household waste and municipal green waste, including yard debris like grass clippings, fruit, soil and leaves, as well as woody debris, such as branches and twigs.

Under the conditions of the expanded quarantine, residents cannot put these prohibited green waste materials into their trash. Instead, the green waste must be separated from other solid waste so it can be properly treated before it is moved into or through a pest-free area. The expanded quarantine will affect operations at the Twisp Transfer Station, located within the quarantine area, and the Okanogan County Central Landfill, which is in a pest-free area. Both are managed by Okanogan County Public Works.

To comply with the quarantine, all waste coming into the Twisp Transfer Station will need to be separated, whether it is brought in by commercial haulers or self-hauled by residents. Okanogan County officials are evaluating options for treating and transporting green waste generated in the area. The plan will require WSDA approval and may require a special permit.

Apple maggot is a pest that threatens the apple industry and fruit crops like cherries, pears, plums, as well as crabapples and hawthorn. The pest has never been detected in commercially packed Washington fruit.