On Monday, April 11, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will conduct aerial black fly suppression operations along the Delaware River in Bucks and Northampton counties as well as the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and the Perkiomen Creek in Montgomery County.
The spray targets larvae growing in waterways before hatching as black flies (biting gnats), leaving their aquatic habitat to affect both animals and people alike. The black fly suppression program reduces the population, providing relief for outdoor recreation in spring and summer months.
Work will begin at approximately 8:00 a.m. from Wings Field in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, with work along the Delaware River to take place during the afternoon. Potential landing areas in Bucks County include the T3 Ranch in Durham Township, the Erwinna/Delaware Valley Fire Co. in Tinicum Township, and Thorpe Farm in Upper Makefield Township.
Aerial operations involve the application of Vectobac 12AS (a brown, viscous, liquid material that smells like fish oil and has a chocolate milk appearance) from a helicopter. The helicopter will apply the Vectobac perpendicular to the river flow in designated areas by flying back and forth across the river and discharging the material from a boom arm. The material is then carried downriver. The active ingredient in Vectobac is Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.), a naturally occurring soil bacterium.
Helicopter Applicators, Inc. of Gettysburg, PA is the scheduled contractor and will be using a gray OH-58 helicopter with red and blue stripes and tail number N654HA. For additional information about black fly suppression, please visit the website http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/blackfly.