Representatives of the Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program addressed the regional district Environment and Infrastructure Committee on April 5 to provide them with general information about the current state of the sterile insect program.
Duane Ophus, SIR board chair, told the board that the SIR program, now 20 years old was divided into three zones in the Okanagan.
Based on information gleaned from sales records of pesticide purchases, the program has reduced pesticide use from 18,000 kilograms in 1996 to 1,200 kilograms in 2010, resulting in a drop in costs for growers in pesticide purchase from $315 per acre in 1996 to $55 in 2010.
Ophus listed several impacts of the program:
– reduced pesticide use.
– created a structure for delivery of area wide pest management services.
– created an enforcement program .
– created opportunities for biological controls.
– improved market opportunities for pome fruit and cherries.
– improved detection and response to invasive alien species.
Several directors expressd their support for the program. Oliver Director Ron Hovanes recalled his father spraying the orchard every 10 days and still having issues with the coddling moth. He also observed that few residents complained of the cost of the program. The delegation appreciated the board’s support, promising to keep them informed of any changes.