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DEP to begin spraying for black flies

| Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Aerial spraying to control black flies will begin this week on 1,600 stream miles in 33 counties, including waterways in Armstrong, Indiana, Fayette and Westmoreland counties, the state Department of Environmental Protection has announced.

The first spraying occurred on Tuesday along the Delaware River, and other waterways will be treated as stream current and weather conditions permit.

In Armstrong County, spraying will occur along the Allegheny and Kiskiminetas rivers, and Mahoning and Redbank creeks. In Westmoreland County, spraying will take place along the Conemaugh, Kiskiminetas and Youghiogheny rivers.

In Fayette County, spraying will occur along the Youghiogheny River, and in Indiana County along the Conemaugh and Kiskiminetas rivers.

The DEP reported that spraying will be performed by helicopter and the frequency will depend on weather conditions. Treatments cannot occur during periods of heavy rain or when water levels are high.

The agency uses Bti, a naturally occurring bacterium, to target the laval 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.

The agency will notify county and local emergency management officials before any spraying activity.

For more information on the state's black fly suppression program, residents may visit the agency's website, www.depweb.state.pa.us .

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