Thursday, July 20, 2017

See A Helicopter Over Schuylkill River Today? Here’s Why

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A helicopter is expected today (Thursday, July 20, 2017), beginning at 8 a.m., to follow bends and turns along portions of the Schuylkill River – north from the City Avenue bridge in Philadelphia, through Lower Pottsgrove, and to the Landingville Dam in Schuylkill County – as it sprays a fishy-smelling larvicide to control black flies commonly known as biting gnats.

The spray consists of a naturally occurring bacteria that is not toxic to fish or other aquatic macroinvertebrates found in the river. It kills the immature form of the black fly while the larvae feed on it in the water, according to a state Department of Environmental Protection announcement.

Spraying is specifically targeted, and will not occur over all of Montgomery County, the department noted. The effort is part of the Pennsylvania Black Fly Suppression Program.

An aircraft flown by Helicopter Applicators of Gettysburg PA will first circle areas to be treated 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 brown, viscous liquid that contains the bacteria called bacillus thuringiensis israelensis.

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