NCW — Okanogan, Chelan and Douglas counties have formed a tri-county pest and disease board.

Okanogan County’s pest control agent, Dan McCarthy, retired at the end of 2020 after serving the county for 23 years, according to a news release from the new tri-county pest board. The counties decided to combine, with Chelan and Douglas counties’ pest control agent, Will Carpenter, taking the helm.

The tri-county pest board will serve the tree fruit industry in all three counties with the mission of eradicating pests and disease in commercial tree fruit, according to the release.

The change comes at a critical time for Okanogan County as the state looks at expanding the apple maggot quarantine zone. The zone attempts to contain the spread of apple maggots in commercial fruit by not allowing fruit or debris from the quarantined area past a certain point.

On March 3, staff with the state Department of Agriculture held a public meeting to talk about finding apple maggots and flies outside the quarantine zone in Okanogan County in 2020.