From Northampton County: PA DEP will be conducting an aerial black fly (biting gnat) control operation along the Delaware River on Tuesday, July 2 beginning at approximately 8:00. The Black Fly Suppression Program will be treating the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s portion of the Delaware River. This aerial activity will occur in Bucks and Northampton counties. Without financial support from New Jersey, Pennsylvania can no longer manage and spray the New Jersey portion of the Delaware River. The helicopter used for this operation will N655HA, a gray Bell 206 L-1 with red and blue stripes. The aircraft is operated by Helicopter Applicators of Gettysburg, PA. DEP personnel will be on site at all landing zones managing the operation.
Helicopter Applicators Inc. will be dispersing Vectobac 12AS, which is a Bti product manufactured by Valent Biosciences. Bti is short for Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis, which is a bacterial larvicide, not a chemical, and is the only product used in Pennsylvania's waterways for black fly suppression. Vectobac 12AS is a thick brown liquid resembling chocolate milk. The helicopter will fly low near tree top level and release the Vectobac at various predetermined positions on each stream.
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 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 to it.
Any questions about the operation may be directed to Paul Mages, Aquatic Biologist with the Southeast Regional Office of the Department of Environmental Protection.