NEW GARDEN (March 17) – State Senator Andy Dinniman met with residents and leaders of the Harrogate North community Thursday to discuss and coordinate efforts to address an infestation of phorid flies that has impacted dozens of homes in the development.

Residents of Harrogate North, a 55 and older residential community of about 124 homes in New Garden, have been plagued by the infestation of hundreds of thousands of the tiny insects.

Dinniman, who was joined by New Garden Township Manager Tony Scheivert and representatives from the Chester County Conservation District and the Lancaster Conservation District, said he was committed to helping the residents find relief from the flies.

“This is a problem that negatively impacts both the quality of life of local residents and the crop yields of neighboring mushroom farmers,” he said. “There has got to be a way to we can work together to eliminate this fly for the betterment of the entire community.”

Dinniman has also been working with the American Mushroom Institute (AMI) to discuss possible solutions, and representatives from his staff attended a recent meeting of the organization’s Integrated Pest Management Committee to order to gain insight into the phorid and discuss possible control or mitigation methods.

“AMI has proved to be an incredibly helpful partner in sharing information about this species and what may or may not work in getting rid of it,” Dinniman said. “Their experts have already provided valuable advice and guidance to residents.”

While Harrogate North residents are currently moving forward with measures, such as treating their water runoff system and removing mulch from flower beds in favor of stone, Dinniman said he will continue to work to involve experts and epidemiologist in the issue.

He said he plans to bring together representatives from the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection, Health, and Agriculture, as Penn State Agriculture Extension Services, to discuss the issue.

“Harrogate North residents agree that their community would be an ideal site to bring together experts to study the phorid fly as we work to develop safe and effective methods to eliminate it as a pest to both homeowners and mushroom farmers,” Dinniman said.