WEST CHESTER (April 23) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will expand its Black Fly Suppression Program to Chester County and Montgomery counties this spring and summer.

Both counties requested to join the program last year due to increased complaints from citizens.

“Swarming flies and the painful bites they inflict can create a very difficult situation for many area residents,” Dinniman said. “Fortunately, this Department of Environmental Protection program has been successful in mitigating these insects and it is now being expanded to our region.”

The program involves the monitoring and treatment of portions of: Schuylkill River, Manatawny Creek, Perkiomen Creek, French Creek, Octoraro Creek, and Brandywine Creek in Chester County.

1Under the program, DEP biologists and student interns conduct black fly monitoring, laboratory identification of samples, data entry, treatment operations and management of aerial spray contracts. Treatments are done by helicopter, using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), a naturally occurring soil bacterium, to selectively target only four black fly species in the Simulium jenningsi species group that bother people.

Treatments are expected to begin in Chester County in late April or early May.

Statewide, the program involves the monitoring and treatment of 1,714 miles of 45 rivers and streams, bringing relief to millions of Pennsylvania residents and tourists each year.

Problems with black flies, which have been recognized as a pest to humans and livestock since the 1970’s, seem to have risen and expanded in recent years as streams and waterways have recovered from ecological degradation.

For more information on the Black Fly Suppression Program, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/black_fly/13774.

If you are experiencing a black fly-related problem or have a complaint, you can contact DEP at http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/BlackFlyReporting or call the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional DEP Office at (484) 250-5980.

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