HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – County Commissioners have stepped up their efforts to help reduce the influx of black flies, also known as “gnats”, throughout the County, by working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP).
On August 1st, a helicopter affiliated with the PA DEP will spray an environmentally safe compound along the Delaware River, to combat the growing larvae populations.
Recent rainfall events have increased larval populations along the Delaware River. These larvae then emerge as adult gnats and blanket the County, causing an unrelenting nuisance to both residents and local livestock. Since the mid-1990’s, the PA DEP has obtained a permit to reduce these populations by spraying the river.
Commissioner and Health Department liaison, Shaun Van Doren said, “Because of dynamic environmental conditions, there are times when black fly populations increase quickly, and we are in the midst of such an event right now. This is a time sensitive problem, and by sharing resources with the PA DEP, we are able to carry out this environmentally safe treatment to eliminate black flies in the safest and most costeffective manner.”
The ariel black fly suppression operation utilizes material from a naturally occurring bacteria that kills the immature larval of the black fly when they feed on it in the waterways. This application is nontoxic and safe for humans, and other wildlife including fish found in the treated waterways. Drifting of any treatment sprayed is minimal, since the helicopter flies low near tree top level, avoiding people and boats and releases at various predetermined positions on the river.
“Black flies have a significant effect on the quality of life of our residents. Additionally, our agrotourism economy, which so many of our residents and their families rely, can be negatively affected by black fly problems,” Van Doren said.