DEP Begins Helicopter Spraying to Control Black Flies

HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has begun aerial spraying on more than 1,600 stream miles in 36 Pennsylvania counties to control black flies, also referred to as gnats.

The first aerial spraying took place on April 27 along the Schuylkill River. Other waterways will be treated as stream flows and weather conditions allow.

“Black flies are a nuisance, especially when Pennsylvanians are trying to enjoy the outdoors and our many streams and rivers,” Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said. “This annual initiative reduces the nuisance so that all of us can get out there and enjoy Pennsylvania’s waterways.”

This year, 49 rivers and streams spanning more than 1,600 miles will be monitored and treated as needed. Spraying activities will be performed both by helicopter and ground crews. The frequency will depend upon weather and biological conditions. Treatments cannot occur during periods of heavy rain or when water levels are high as high water conditions lower the effectiveness of the treatment.

DEP uses Bti, a naturally occurring bacterium, to treat the larval stage of four specific human pest black fly species. This bacterium degrades quickly in the environment and does not harm the aquatic ecosystem, birds, or other insects.

DEP notifies county and local emergency management officials prior to any spraying activity. Helicopters seen flying over waterways and ground crews using backpack sprayers off bridges are conducting control operations on behalf of DEP’s black fly program. Anyone concerned at the sight of a helicopter or ground personnel is encouraged to call their county emergency management office to verify that a black fly treatment is taking place in their area on that day.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s Black Fly Suppression Program, click here or visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword Black Fly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a list of the waterways to be sprayed for black flies, by county:

Armstrong
• Allegheny River
• Kiskiminetas River
• Mahoning Creek
• Redbank Creek

Beaver
• Connoquenessing Creek

Berks
• Manatawny Creek
• Schuylkill River
• Tulpehocken Creek

Bradford
• Chemung River
• North Branch Susquehanna River

Bucks
• Delaware River
• Tohickon Creek

Butler
• Slippery Rock Creek

Chester
• Brandywine Creek
• Octoraro Creek
• Schuylkill River
• French Creek

Clarion
• Allegheny River
• Clarion River
• Redbank Creek

Clearfield
• Chest 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

Lehigh
• Lehigh River

Luzerne
• North Branch Susquehanna River

Lycoming
• Loyalsock Creek
• Pine Creek
• West Branch Susquehanna River

Mifflin
• Juniata River

Montgomery
• Manatawny Creek
• Perkiomen Creek

Northampton
• Delaware River
• Lehigh 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
• Loyalhanna Creek
• Youghiogheny River

Wyoming
• North Branch Susquehanna River
• Tunkhannock Creek

York
• Conewago Creek
• Susquehanna River
• Yellow Breeches Creek

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