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The original item was published from 8/25/2023 4:40:00 PM to 9/2/2023 12:00:02 AM.

News Flash

Health Department

Posted on: August 25, 2023

[ARCHIVED] PA DEP will be conducting an aerial black fly suppression operation

Helicopter spray

On Monday, August 28, 2023, PA DEP will be conducting an aerial black fly (biting gnat) larviciding operation along the Schuylkill River; Neshaminy Creek and Tulpehocken Creek beginning at approximately 8:00am taking off at Wings Field in Montgomery County.

This aerial spraying activity will utilize a helicopter to apply Vectobac 12AS (also known as B.t.i.) into the aforementioned waterway(s) in, Montgomery, Chester, & Berks. (Philadelphia borders the work being conducted in part of Montgomery County.)

  • The Neshaminy will be treated between Playwicki Park in Langhorne to the 611 Bridge in Doylestown, Bucks County.
  • Work on the Schuylkill River will take place between City Avenue bridge in Philadelphia to Little Schuylkill River mouth in Schuylkill County.
  • Work on the Tulpehocken Creek will take place between Blue Marsh Lake Dam and the Schuylkill River confluence.  

This will be the last Black Fly treatment on these waterways for this season. 

The helicopter used for this operation will be a White Bell OH-58  with red & blue stripes & with tail number N659HA . The aircraft is operated by Helicopter Applicators of Gettysburg, PA. DEP personnel will be on site at all landing zones managing the operation.

The B.t.i. material is a naturally occurring bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) that kills the immature (larval) form of the black fly when they feed on it in the waterways. This application of B.t.i. is not toxic to fish or other aquatic macroinvertebrates found in the treated waterways. The material is only applied to the surface of the water and not sprayed

This work does NOT involve a helicopter spraying over the entire county. This work is targeted to portions of specifically mentioned waterways. The helicopter will apply B.t.i. to the water at designated areas every few miles along the treated waterways. Application is done by first circling the area to look for people on the ground or obstructions in the air. Then, the helicopter will fly perpendicular to the water flow (whenever possible) and apply the B.t.i. material which is a brown, viscous liquid with a fish oil odor directly to the water.

For more information about the PA Black Fly Suppression Program click here.

Vectobac 12as data sheets: 

DEP subpression program

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