DEP vs. Black Flies

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Some people near Mifflinburg say they keep their windows shut all year because of black flies buzzing around.  Monday the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection attempted to control the pesky problem in Snyder and Union counties.

Mary Brown lives along Penns Creek near Mifflinburg.  When it's warm out, she said, black flies make it unpleasant to go outside.

"The flies tend to get very bad around here with the water. We've had quite a bit of flies here already," said Mary Brown of Limestone Township.

That's why the DEP started spraying for black flies. The agency said it uses a helicopter to spray a type of bacteria that does not threaten the environment or animals, and because of the mild winter, DEP started spraying about a month early this year.

That is music to the ears of people who live along Penns Creek.

"The warm weather that we had this year, it is much worse in the summer. I have to keep my windows closed all the time," said Angie Bowersox of Limestone Township.

From now through August more than 40 bodies of water in 33 counties are scheduled to be sprayed for black flies.  Penns Creek in Snyder and Union counties is one of the first.

"They're more than welcome to spray to keep the bugs from being around here.  It is amazing," said Bowersox.

DEP said it sprays where black flies are known to be a problem.

"It's helped.  You still have them but that's expected," said Brown.

DEP said spraying greatly reduces the black fly population, so people can enjoy outdoor activities when the weather warms up.