DEP Preparing for Black Fly Spraying

HARRISBURG – With more people venturing outside to enjoy warmer weather, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said the commonwealth will soon launch its annual black fly spraying program to control populations of the insects that pose a nuisance to outdoor recreation.

“Now’s the time when people are anxious to head outdoors,” said McGinty. “Controlling black flies is necessary to ensure that our citizens and visitors to the commonwealth can enjoy their time in the sun.

“The department has been monitoring waterways for the presence of black fly larvae and will begin aerial spraying in late April to target the species responsible for the painful bites that can ruin our outdoor activities.”

Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s proposed fiscal year 2008-09 budget allocates $6.9 million for the black fly suppression program, which will allow 1,607 stream miles to be treated. The Governor’s proposal will save taxpayers $850,000 through a new spraying contract that maintains existing service levels and expands the program’s treatment area to include Bald Eagle Creek in Clinton County. Spraying to control black flies depends on weather conditions and will not be done when it is heavily raining or if river and stream levels are elevated from previous precipitation. If the water level is too high and the water is moving too rapidly, the material used for the spraying is carried away from the targeted location before it can be effective.

DEP uses Bti, a naturally occurring bacterium, to target four specific black fly species. This bacterium degrades quickly in the environment and does not harm the aquatic ecosystem, birds or other insects. Spraying is done by helicopter during daylight hours.

“DEP will notify county and local emergency management officials prior to spraying so they can be sure the helicopters seen flying over creeks, streams and rivers are doing so on behalf of the state’s black fly program,” said McGinty. “If any member of the public has questions when they see a helicopter spraying, they can call their county emergency management office to verify that a black fly treatment is taking place in their area on that day.”

The state pays for the bulk of this program, but participating counties do contribute. Spraying for black flies is expected to begin as water levels recede to where the treatment can be effective, and surveillance shows sufficient numbers of black fly larvae present. Spraying typically begins between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and continues until all waterways are completed, or until dark.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s Black Fly Suppression Program, visit here, keyword: Black Fly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is a list of the 34 counties and 47 waterways to be sprayed for black flies: County Treated Waterways Adams Conewago Creek

Armstrong Allegheny River, Kiskiminetas River, Mahoning Creek, Redbank Creek

Beaver Connoquenessing Creek

Berks Maiden Creek, Manatawny Creek, Schuylkill River, Tulpehocken Creek

Bradford Chemung River, North Branch Susquehanna River, Wyalusing Creek

Bucks Delaware River, Neshaminy Creek, Tohickon Creek

Butler Slippery Rock Creek

Clarion Allegheny River, Clarion River, Redbank Creek

Clearfield Chest Creek, West Branch Susquehanna River

Clinton Bald Eagle Creek, Pine Creek, West Branch Susquehanna River

Columbia Fishing Creek, North Branch Susquehanna River

Cumberland Conodoguinet Creek, Susquehanna River, Yellow Breeches Creek

Dauphin Juniata River, Mahantango Creek, Susquehanna River, Swatara Creek

Elk Clarion River

Fayette Youghiogheny River

Forest Allegheny River, Clarion River, Tionesta Creek

Huntingdon Aughwick Creek, Frankstown Branch Juniata River, Juniata River

Indiana Conemaugh River, Kiskiminetas River

Juniata Juniata River, Susquehanna River, Tuscarora Creek

Lawrence Connoquenessing Creek, Neshannock Creek, Slippery Rock Creek

Luzerne North Branch Susquehanna River

Lycoming Loyalsock Creek, Pine Creek, West Branch Susquehanna River

Mifflin Juniata River

Northampton Delaware River

Northumberland Mahantango Creek, North Branch Susquehanna River, Susquehanna River West Branch Susquehanna River

Perry Juniata River, Sherman Creek, Susquehanna River

Schuylkill Schuylkill River

Snyder Middle Creek, Penns Creek, Susquehanna River

Union Penns Creek, West Branch Susquehanna River

Venango Allegheny River, French Creek, Oil Creek, Sandy Creek, Sugar Creek

Warren Allegheny River, Brokenstraw Creek, Conewango Creek

Westmoreland Conemaugh River, Kiskiminetas River

Wyoming North Branch Susquehanna River, Tunkhannock Creek

York Conewago Creek, Susquehanna River, Yellow Breeches Creek

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