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County Executive McCarthy Announces Proposed Plan To Address Black Fly Concerns in Northwestern Cecil County

Post Date:02/21/2019 2:54 PM

**EDIT: The word 'pesticide' is a very general term (used by the State of Maryland) that includes various agents. A BTI, a bacterial control agent, will be used in regards to the black fly issue described here. BTI is used as a larvicide to kill larvae before they can grow into adults that can bite people. BTI will not harm people, pets and other animals, aquatic life, or other insects, including honeybees. BTI is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- registered insecticide.

February 21, 2019

ELKTON, MD. -- County Executive McCarthy and his staff have been working on a plan to address the black fly (Simulium Jennings) nuisance issue that has been brought to the county government’s attention by numerous residents in the northwestern sector of the county. Although this is not a public health matter, it has risen to the “take action” phase due to the nuisance complaints that have been raised over the last couple of years.

Black fly management has been in place for almost 30 years in southern Pennsylvania. Washington County, MD. started a spraying program with State assistance over the last couple of years. Knowing that this matter will not miraculously disappear, the County Executive has directed his staff to develop an environmentally safe program to deal with this matter starting in the spring of 2019.

The recommendations from a study and report commissioned by the Maryland Department of Agriculture will be used to initiate a spray program. The proposed plan is the following:

  • Application has been made to the MDE/DNR for an application entitled “Request to Use Toxic Substances for Aquatic Life Management Purposes”.
  • County will utilize an existing county employee who possesses the proper aquatic application certification to perform the spraying.
  • County will purchase the pesticide through a state procurement
  • Maryland Department of Agriculture staff has provided technical guidance with the identification of larvae, identifying spray locations primarily along Octoraro Creek, and assisting with calculating application rates based upon stream volume.

Upon issuance of the permit from the Maryland Department of Environment, in late April or early May, the county team will meet with Maryland Department of Agriculture staff to identify larvae and confirm spray locations. It is anticipated that spraying will occur between the months of May and September and that spraying frequency will be approximately every 2 weeks.

“We are tremendously appreciative of the assistance of the Maryland Department of Agriculture who has so willingly come to our aid and provided guidance as we work to deal with the black flies in Cecil County,” said County Executive Alan McCarthy.


Al Wein
Director of Administration

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