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Apple Maggot Quarantine Area

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The Apple Maggot Quarantine Area is a permanent quarantine area established by the U.S. state of Washington. The quarantine was authorized under Washington state law and the area's boundaries are periodically reset by the state's Department of Agriculture. The quarantine was declared in the early 1980s to arrest the spread of the apple maggot into a portion of eastern Washington.


The Apple Maggot Quarantine Area was established to control the spread of the apple maggot (pictured) into a protected agricultural area of eastern Washington.

The apple maggot, which is not indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, was discovered to have arrived in Washington in 1980.[1] The quarantine was declared thereafter and is designed to protect Washington's core apple growing regions from infestation.[1][2] The Washington State Department of Transportation installed 70 signs along highways around the state in 1985 to warn of the quarantine.[3]

Authority for the quarantine is codified under Title 17 of the Revised Code of Washington.[4]


Washington exported $718 million worth of apples in 2016, making apples the state's seventh largest export, and the apple has been declared the official state fruit.[5][6] Almost two-thirds of all apples grown in the United States are produced in Washington.[7][8] According to the Washington Apple Commission, the quality standards for Washington apples "are more stringent than grading standards used in any other growing region in the world".[9] A mandatory inspection program requires apples, all of which are hand-picked, to meet this set of standards that, in some criteria factors, exceed those set by the United States Department of Agriculture.[10][11]

The state's Department of Agriculture has said that the apple maggot threatens "Washington's iconic apple industry, as well as many of our other fruit crops".[12] The establishment of reproducing populations of the apple maggot within Washington would have a devastating impact on the state's apple industry resulting from the potential loss of export markets.[13]

Quarantine regulations[edit]

Quarantine extent, procedures, and efficacy[edit]

Each year, the Washington state Department of Agriculture deploys apple maggot traps to a selection of sites in the state with between 5,500 to 8,500 traps deployed annually.[14][15][13][16] The traps are yellow paneled, adhesive traps baited with ammonium carbonate lures.[15] The area surrounding locations which successfully trap apple maggots may be further studied by analyzing fruit in the area for the presence of apple maggot larvae and, ultimately, placed in the quarantine zone.[14][15][13] In 2011, for instance, the trapping of 35 apple maggots at 23 locations in Chelan County resulted in a recommendation to extend the quarantine zone to the western part of that county.[16]

A map showing the approximate boundaries of the Apple Maggot Quarantine Area within the United States as of 2017. Areas in red are under quarantine by Washington state, areas in grey are those outside the state free from quarantine, and areas in green are those within Washington free from quarantine.

The states of Oregon, California, Idaho, and Utah, all areas of the eastern United States, and all "foreign countries where apple maggot is established" have also been placed under quarantine by Washington.[17] In addition to these areas, as of 2017, all or portions of the state's counties of Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Skagit, Skamania, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whatcom, and Yakima, are also quarantined.[17]

Washington State University's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center has cited the fact that "apple maggots have never been found in commercially packed fruit in the state" as evidence of the quarantine's efficacy.[13]

Terms of the quarantine[edit]

There is a prohibition on transporting homegrown or foraged fruit from the quarantine zone into the pest free zone, except for fruit that has first been processed through canning, jarring, juicing, or drying.[2][18] In addition, any yard waste from the quarantine zone must be disposed of within the zone and cannot be transported across its boundaries.[2][18][19] Store-bought fruit is exempt from the quarantine as it is already subject to inspection by state authorities.[20]

In addition, under state law pest control officials can order property owners to spray with pesticides trees in which the apple maggot has been observed.[14]

In popular culture[edit]

Apple Maggot Quarantine Area, also known as A.M.Q.A., was the name of a metal band from Seattle active from 1985 to 1989.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sheets, Bill (June 8, 2012). "Apple maggot quarantine explained". Everett Herald. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Apple Maggot Quarantine". WSDA. Washington Department of Agriculture. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Kossen, Bill (February 7, 1999). "So many questions, so few good answers". The Seattle Times. p. 4.
  4. ^ "Power to adopt quarantine measures—Rules". Revised Code of Washington. State of Washington. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Total U.S. Exports (Origin of Movement) from Washington". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "". Washington fun facts. Washington Department of Early Learning. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  7. ^ Karp, David (November 3, 2015). "Beyond the Honeycrisp Apple". New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  8. ^ DuPont, Tianna. "Apples in Washington State". Washington State University. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "No Other Apple Comes Close". Washington Apple Commission. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Kroman, David (February 12, 2015). "The rise of the apple picking robots". Crosscut. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Strang, Lee (2008). Cases and Materials on Federal Constitutional Law, Volume 4. LexisNexis. ISBN 1422428885.
  12. ^ "Apple Maggot". Washington Department of Agriculture. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d Klaus, Michael. "Apple maggot". Orchard Pest Management Online. Washington State University. Retrieved December 4, 2017. Counties may be quarantined in whole or in part based on trap catches and other evidence of apple maggot activity detected.
  14. ^ a b c "Officials wary due to apple maggot fly captures". Methow Valley News. March 23, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2018. In some counties, apple maggots have been confined to small areas through partial quarantines that affect only a portion of the county, he said. After they were found last summer, the flies were sent to a state lab for positive identification, because apple maggot flies are almost identical to snowberry maggot flies. State agriculture agents collected fruit at each positive trap site and sent it to a “rearing facility” to determine if the larvae in the fruit continued their life cycle, which would indicate a reproducing population, McCarthy said. The results showed that the population was not reproducing, which was good news, he said.
  15. ^ a b c Sansford, Claire. "Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) for apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) moving on municipal green waste into the Pest-Free Area (PFA) of the state of Washington, USA" (PDF). Washington State Department of Agriculture. p. 21-27. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Warner, Geraldine (January 1, 2012). "Further apple maggot quarantine proposesd". Good Fruit Grower. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Area under order for apple maggot—Pest free area—Quarantine areas". Washington Administrative Code. State of Washington. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Washington state expands apple maggot quarantine area". Good Fruit Grower. January 10, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  19. ^ Deshais, Nicholas (March 2, 2015). "New state rule on apple maggot puts Spokane yard waste recycling at risk". Spokesman Review. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  20. ^ "Apple Maggot Quarantine". Washington Department of Agriculture. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  21. ^ "A.M.Q.A." The Metal Archives. Encyclopedia Metallum. Retrieved December 4, 2017.

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