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State ag department may increase apple maggot quarantine area in county

A public hearing on a proposal by the Washington State Department of Agriculture to increase the size of the area quarantined for apple maggots in Yakima County will be held next Thursday, June 8, in Yakima. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in the Washington State Department of Agriculture's conference room at 21 North 1st Ave.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is proposing an increase in the quarantine area because a reproducing population of the pest has been detected in a non-quarantined part of the county. The proposal would expand the quarantined area to include the part of the county north of an east-west line running from the Benton County line, just south of Union Gap, to the present boundary.

The current quarantine area in Yakima County is west of a north-south line running the length of the county located approximately 10 miles west of the City of Yakima. If the proposal is approved, growers will be able to continue to ship commercial apples from the quarantined area if accompanied by a WSDA-issued certificate stating that no apple maggot flies were trapped within a half-mile of the orchard shipping the fruit, or that flies were caught within a half-mile of the orchard but inspections reveal no apple maggot larvae in the fruit.

The purpose of the apple maggot quarantine program is to keep major apple production areas free of the pest. Apple maggot larvae have never been detected in commercially packed fruit in the state.

Persons may present material in writing or orally at the June 8 hearing. Written material must be sent no later than June 8 to Henri Gonzales, state Department of Agriculture. Material may be sent by e-mail to hgonzales@agr.wa.gov; by mail at P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560; or FAX (360) 902-2094.

Persons with questions on the apple maggot quarantine proposal or public hearing may call the WSDA toll-free hotline (1-800-443-6684).

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