State’s black fly control includes area counties

From staff reports

The state Department of Environmental Protection began its 2020 black fly suppression program last week.

The program involves aerial and backpack spraying on roughly 1,700 stream miles in 35 counties of the commonwealth, including those in the region.

“As warmer weather returns, black flies are a pest that can inundate folks seeking outdoor recreation, especially around rivers and streams,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a news release.

“Using environmentally compatible methods, this annual initiative reduces this nuisance so that Pennsylvanians and visitors can fully enjoy our natural resources.”

DEP said it uses Bti, a naturally occurring bacterium, to treat the larval stage of four specific human pest black fly species.

The bacterium degrades quickly in the environment and does not harm the aquatic ecosystem, birds or other insects, according to DEP. Prior to spraying, DEP notifies county and local emergency management officials.

This year, 48 rivers and streams spanning more than 1,700 miles will be monitored and treated as needed, according to the release. Spraying activities will be performed both by helicopter and ground crews.

The frequency will depend upon weather and biological conditions, the release said.

Area counties on DEP’s list include:

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

Clarion: Allegheny River, Clarion River, Redbank Creek

Forest: Allegheny River, Clarion River, Tionesta Creek

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

Warren: Allegheny River, Brokenstraw Creek, Conewango Creek