Sterile Insect Release Program
Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program (SIR)
The Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program (SIR) is an environmentally responsible, area-wide approach to control codling moth pest populations, one of the BC tree fruit industry's most damaging and costly pests. The program operates in the fruit-growing regions of the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Shuswap Valleys, where the tree fruit industry plays an important role in the lives of residents and commercial growers.
We use Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to produce sterile codling moths, which are then released at regular intervals to breed with wild moths. The mating pair cannot produce viable offspring and the results is a steady reduction with wild moths. The mating pair cannot produce viable offspring and the results is a steady reduction in wild codling moth populations.
Funding for the Program is split between local property taxpayers (60%) and commercial pome fruit growers (40%). The program's state-of-the-art rearing facilty has an annual production capacity of 780 million sterile codling moths, and the program is a major seasonal employer for the region.
The success of SIR's area-wide approach has meant that farmers require few to no pesticides to prevent codling moth damage. This creates major benefits for our fruit industry, our environment, and the health of our communities.