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Officials spraying today to control black flies in Delaware River Basin

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 in Mercer, Hunterdon and Warren counties in New Jersey on Friday, July 18.

The spray targets larvae growing in waterways before hatching as black fly (biting gnats), leaving their aquatic habitat to affect both animals and people. 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 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, visit depweb.state.pa.us/blackfly.

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