Coddling moths are finding recent climate changes to their liking across the Okanagan. (Contributed)

Munching moths infest Okanagan farms

At least one moth activist said the insect is negatively impacting agriculture production

It’s not a flame that moths are attracted to in the Okanagan, it’s farms.

That’s according to Melissa Tesche, general manager for the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program.

She recently shared that information with West Kelowna city council as part of a larger presentation about the insect program, which was established in the South Okanagan 17 years ago.

According to Tesche, the growth of the moth population has had an escalating impact on Okanagan farmers in recent years largely due to a changing climate.

READ MORE:Codling moths remain a problem for Okanagan apple growers

“The same reason that we’ve had hot and dry fire years for a number of years in a row, those same conditions are perfect for insect growth,” she said.

“(Warmer temperatures) let insects speed up their life cycle to the point where we’re able to see a whole other generation of coddling moth in the same summer.”

According to the organization’s website, after moths lay their eggs on pieces of fruit, baby moths hatch and then burrow their way into the inside of produce.

The insect then matures around the fruit before mating on surrounding produce the following year.

Tesche said the spread of moth infestation has never been more evident than now.

“With the rise in popularity from farmers markets and roadside stands, we’re seeing a lot of bin movement throughout the valley,” she said.

“The coddling moth can actually travel on those bins, which creates a perfect storm.”

Tesche said fruit stands have become more common throughout the Okanagan because farmers tend to make a bigger buck for their produce rather than selling it at local co-ops.

According to E-Fauna BC, there are approximately 2,000 different moth species throughout the province.

The codling moth was accidentally introduced into British Columbia from Europe in the early 1900s.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

COVID-19: Changes at Knox Mountain, Canyon Falls, park washrooms in Kelowna

Park washrooms open with extra cleaning on April 1; Knox Mountain Drive, Canyon Falls remain closed

What to expect for Central Okanagan schools in light of COVID-19

For the first week after spring break, March 30 to April 3, schools will not be open to students

District of Lake Country lauds residents staying active while distancing

Lake Country residents getting fresh air and exercise while physically distancing

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Most Read