Putting the sterile insect technique into the modern integrated pest management toolbox to control the codling moth in Canada

Nelson, C., Esch, E., Kimmie, S., Tesche, M., and Philip, H. Arthur, S.,  AREA-WIDE INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT: Development and Field Application,  2021.

The Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release (OKSIR) programme, in southern British Columbia, Canada, has been successfully applying the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) as part of a sustainable areawide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programme to control the codling moth Cydia pomonella L. in pome fruits in the region for over 20 years. Chemical, cultural and biological techniques that complement the SIT are also integrated into orchard and regional pest management plans by the programme and/or individual growers. The AW-IPM programme is supported by close monitoring of codling moth populations in orchards and adjacent urban properties; enforcing suppression of codling moth infestations in orchards and urban areas; removing derelict orchards, wild host trees and poorly managed host trees; and increasing public awareness and education. Successful collaboration between the OKSIR programme, the pome fruit industry, area residents and various government organizations has reduced codling moth populations by 94%, relative to pre-programme levels, and codling moth damage to less than 0.2% of fruit, in more than 90% of the orchards in the programme area. Local pesticide sales indicate a 96% reduction in the amount of active ingredient used against the codling moth since 1991. Implementing the SIT through an innovative social approach to local community-centred area-wide pest management has posed many challenges and created many learning opportunities. The codling moth mass-rearing facility in Osoyoos, British Columbia, has the capacity to produce 780 million sterile codling moths annually, but only a portion of that is used seasonally to treat 3400 hectares (ha) of pome fruit made up of small orchards intermixed with residential areas in the Okanagan Valley. As a result of climate change and increasing global trade, destructive insect pests are migrating to new habitats throughout the world. These new threats must be managed in ways that protect both the agrifood industries and the natural environments in which the industries operate. The OKSIR programme is an effective and easily transferred model to meet these challenges, especially as a supplement to other biological control methods. The programme is also a compelling model of success that can encourage other regions to use the SIT in their pest management toolbox to combat codling moth infestations across multiple local community jurisdictions using environment-friendly, cost-effective methods based on proven technology. The OKSIR programme is exploring the sale of surplus sterile moths, egg sheets or possible virus production as an opportunity to offset costs of incorporating additional area-wide approaches to combat other invasive pests.

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