Apples Inslee brought to Eastern Washington test positive for maggot larvae

Inslee Apples
PC: Spokane Fire Department

BRIDGEPORT, Wash. — The apples Governor Jay Inslee brought to Omak last week have tested positive for apple maggot larvae.

The Chelan-Douglas Horticultural Pest and Disease Board is now looking to contact anyone who may be able to help locate those apples, which were also brought to the towns of Malden and Bridgeport.

“Apple Maggots are an incredibly serious pest and could have dire consequences for the orchardists of Douglas County if we are unable to find the infected apples and mitigate the effects immediately,” said Director Will Carpenter.

The honey crisp apples came from the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia. Thurston County is currently an Apple Maggot quarantine area, but Douglas County is not. The Department of Agriculture alerted the Governor’s Office that taking apples from maggot-infested Western Washington to maggot-free zones is illegal.

Signs are posted along the highway informing motorists about the fruit quarantine. Technically, breaking the quarantine is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, but the Dept. of Agriculture does not pursue criminal penalties.

Inslee released the following statement Wednesday:

“Last week Trudi and I wanted to express comfort for the communities suffering from devastating fires. When I visited some of these areas, I took some apples we picked from our tree in Olympia. We regret this mistake. This a good reminder of the importance of awareness around apple quarantine. We appreciate the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s efforts to help recover these apples and we are assisting to help make that happen.”

“Douglas County orchardists, regulators and processors have worked tirelessly to ensure that our area stays free of apple maggots and this event could have serious implications for the region. It is of the utmost importance these apples are safely disposed of immediately,” Carpenter said.

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READ: Recent windstorms, wildfires reduce Washington’s apple crop