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2014 News

Pennsylvania DEP Officials to Conduct Black Fly Helicopter Spraying July 18 in Delaware River Basin

July 17, 2014

On Friday, July 18, 2014, 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 Mercer, Hunterdon and Warren Counties in New Jersey).

The spray targets larvae growing in waterways before hatching as black fly (biting gnats), leaving their aquatic habitat to affect both animals and people alike. The black fly suppression program reduces the population to tolerable levels, providing relief for outdoor recreation in spring and summer months.

Work will begin at the Thorpe Farm in Upper Makefield Township at 8:00 a.m. and continue north along the Delaware River throughout the day.

Typical operations involve the application of Vectobac 12AS (a brown, viscous, liquid material that smells like fish oil) 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.

AgAir, LLC of Thomasville, PA is the scheduled contractor and will be using a Bell Jet Ranger with tail number N16979. For additional information about black fly suppression, please visit the website http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/blackfly.