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