WEST CHESTER (November 7, 2018) – Funding supported by state Senator Andy Dinniman will go to hire a researcher to work with residents and mushroom farmers in southern Chester County to combat the Phorid fly infestation that has wreaked havoc on the region in recent years.
The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences recently advertised an opening for a research technologist to coordinate research activities ongoing at University Park with residents and mushroom growers in southern Chester County.
Dinniman, who previously secured a $100,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to study ways to control the fly problem, successfully fought an additional $90,000 in funding to support the new position. He said the job was the first of its kind and represents a new, community-based approach to solving issues that arise between rural and suburban communities.
The researcher will study the ecology and control of Phorid fly infestations on local mushroom farms while serving as a liaison to impacted residents.
“This is a quality-of-life issue where the farms meet the suburbs. These flies are a big problem for the mushroom industry and they’re a big problem for homeowners and their families,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, said. “This researcher will communicate directly with residents and farmers as we work together to develop effective and innovative solutions for the betterment of the entire community.”
The initial grant funding was the result of several meetings Dinniman held with residents of Harrogate North, leaders of other communities impacted by the flies, mushroom farmers, and experts from Penn State and American Mushroom Institute’s (AMI) Integrated Pest Management Committee.
Dinniman has led the effort to address the infestation of tiny insects that have plagued dozens of homeowners and residents in New Garden Township and nearby areas.
“I’m committed to finding a solution to this problem and this new position is another step in that direction,” Dinniman said. “It means residents will now have access to a professional who can answer their questions about the insects and discuss what works and what doesn’t in controlling these pests.”