See below for frequently asked questions about the Sterile Insect Release (SIR) program. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, contact us for more information.

  • My Host Trees

    What type of trees does SIR look at?

    Codling moth host trees include all apples, pears, crabapple, ornamental crabapple, walnut, quince trees and quince shrubs.

  • Why should I maintain my host trees?

    The SIR Program includes the Okanagan, Similkameen and Shuswap Valleys. With any area-wide program, success depends on the cooperation of all participants. The Program helps reduce chemical sprays and the impact of these sprays on air, water, and soil quality. This benefits the entire community.

  • Strip the fruit? There are so many blossoms; it's such a big job!

    Many homeowners eliminate codling moths in their trees by removing all fruit early in the season. If the tree is large or overgrown it should first be pruned to a manageable height and to open the canopy. This makes it much easier to snap off the bud and/or developing fruit.

  • I heard I could get a gift certificate for removing my fruit and/or host tree?

    SIR used to have an incentive program in place where property owners who removed all host fruit from their property, or who removed host trees, could be eligible to receive “Thank You” gift certificates to local businesses. This program existed for a limited time and is no longer in place.

  • My Property

    What gives SIR the right to enter onto my property?

    BC Regulation 17/90 gives employees of the SIR Program the authority to enter onto property at all reasonable times to carry out the work of the program.

  • Why hasn't someone visited my residential property this year?

    SIR residential resources are focused on those urban host trees located within 200 meters of commercial orchards, or areas of known infestation. Properties with known, significant infestation will receive a letter in the spring. If there is a history of unacceptable codling moth infestation, the letter will include an order that will require you to remove all fruit from your host trees by June 1st.

    SIR staff is also available to visit properties on request, or if complaints are received about a property.

    If you have questions or require a visit, please contact the SIR office.

  • I have rental property. Shouldn't you talk to the renters? They're the ones that want the tree.

    It’s great if you have renters that will take care of the host trees in your yard, but as the owner you are ultimately responsible for the care of the trees.  Program compliance and/or charges, are the owner’s responsibility.

  • What if SIR charges me for work completed and I don't want to pay?

    If SIR charges for non-compliance are not paid by December 31st of the year issued, the charges will then be billed to the owner and form part of the taxes payable on the property.

  • Pesticides

    Does the SIR Program force people to spray pesticides?

    No. The Sterile Insect Release Program is an area-wide and environmentally friendly approach to managing codling moth populations.

    The aim of the Program is to reduce the use of pesticides through the strategic use of a combination of codling moth controls, including sterile moth release, mating disruption, removal of blossoms and fruit, pruning, cardboard banding, and intensive monitoring.

    The use of pesticides is another option for growers and property owners, but it is one that we neither enforce nor carry out ourselves. It is the grower or property owner who may choose to apply pesticides or hire a professional pesticide applicator as a way of maintaining his or her codling moth host trees.

  • If we don't want to spray, are there other ways to control the moth?

    Codling moths are dependent on fruit to complete their life cycle. Removing all fruit and/or blossoms by June 1st each year eliminates the hatching larvae’s food source. Organic options for codling moth control in residential areas and orchard settings also exist.

  • What can urban properties spray?

    Nurseries can suggest a number of codling moth sprays – please be sure to follow the mixing instructions on the label.  More information from the Ministry of Agriculture is available.

  • Taxes and Program Administration

    How much tax am I paying?

    At the beginning of every year the SIR Board sets the yearly tax rate for orchardists. It is less than $200 per acre of planted apple or pear trees (or quince).

    All urban properties, regardless if they have host trees, paid an average of $10.00 per year.

  • How long is this program going to last?

    Currently, there is no end date established for the Program.  If you are an owner of an apple, pear, crabapple, or quince, you are required to maintain it for the lifetime of the tree.  If you can’t maintain your tree, or are not interested in maintaining it, then removal is the best option.

  • My Neighbour

    Why doesn't my neighbour have to do anything about their overgrown tree?

    The SIR Program requires maintenance on all codling moth host trees with infestation. Unfortunately, it’s not against the law for your neighbour to have an ugly or overgrown tree – the tree would need to be infested before action can be taken.

    Please also see My Neighbours Fruit Tree for more information.

  • Pests

    What is a codling moth?

    A codling moth is a small, grayish moth whose larva feeds on apples and related fruit.

    The codling moth has been a principal pest of apple and pear in North America for more than 200 years.

    The fruit is commonly described as being “wormy” when you have a codling moth infestation. This is because the larvae feed on the fruit by boring deep into the core and spoiling it.

    Adult moths are small and usually gray or brown in colour. If uncontrolled, codling moth can damage most of the fruit crop on a tree. The codling moth can produce from 1 to 3 generations per year in the Okanagan.

  • What is an apple clearwing moth?

    An apple clearwing moth is a wood-boring insect that feeds on apple trees and other fruit and ornamental trees.

    Apple clearwing moths have transparent wings and a dark blue-black body with an orange band. The larvae bore holes into the trunks of apple trees causing a slow decline in tree health and reduced yields.

    In Europe they are known as the red-belted clearwing and in North America as the apple clearwing moth.

  • What is an apple maggot?

    Apple maggot is a key apple pest. Adult apple maggots are 2mm long, slightly smaller than a house fly, and have conspicuous black bands running across their transparent wings. The larvae are white, tapered maggots that tunnel throughout the flesh of fruit. They are often found in large numbers and can quickly reduce an apple to a brown, pulpy mess.

  • Orchards

    How many moths are released in the orchards throughout the summer?

    The SIR facility in Osoyoos, BC, produces approximately 1.5 million sterilized moths per day.

    SIR releases approximately 135 million sterilized moths each summer in orchards from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm.

  • What are degree days?

    Growing degree days (DD) are a weather-based indicator for assessing crop and pest development. It is a calculation used by crop producers that measures heat accumulation used to predict plant and pest development rates.

    Growing degrees are defined as the mean daily temperature (average of daily maximum and minimum temperatures) above a certain threshold base temperature accumulated on a daily basis over a period of time.

    Daily growing degree day values are added together from the beginning of the season. Degree day totals are also used for comparing the progress of a growing season to the long-term average.