Although the black fly problem in south Logan County may never be completely over, a reprieve of sorts is being seen as the county continues to fight the pesky bug that has plagued the Red River and Whipporwill Creek.
According to Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick, the treatment that is being applied by Enscience is working or at least is killing the black fly larva that attaches itself to waterways.
The Logan County Fiscal Court hired Enscience, a local company who is going into the most remote areas of the Red River and Whipporwill Creek to apply Bacillus thuringienisis israelensis (Bti), which is a biological material specifically designed to target black fly larva. The material is non-toxic to humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants and most invertebrates when properly applied. It is used worldwide to control black flies and mosquitoes without harming non-target organisms.
Mark Hopkins, president of Enscience says it seems to be working well. Chick said Hopkins will be going back to the Whipporwill Creek areas next week to apply more product where he has seen active larva. It is important to kill the black fly at the larval stage, said Hopkins. Low water due to the heat is causing a few snags.
The state of Kentucky purchased 23 barrels of product for Logan County and thus far a little less than 17 barrels have been used. The county agreed to purchase additional barrels for $10,000 if needed, but so far said Chick, it looks as if the county will not need to make that purchase this year.
Robert Fusco, a field scientist with Valent BioSciences Corporation brought in by the state to access the black fly problem, says the flies have always been in the area, it’s the river that has changed that may be causing an increase. The river is extremely clean now, where it used to be more polluted.
Hopkins said that Logan County will probably never be free from the black fly, but by treating the waterways each year, they can curve the amount.
“This year we have been blessed,” said judge Chick. “We thought we were going to have to buy more product, but we didn’t,” Chick added.
This is, however, a cost that will have to be put into the budget each year.
It is the hopes of Chick that the state will be gracious enough next year to purchase and supply the county with as much product as they have this year.
Logan County is paying Enscince $750 per day to treat the waterways.
“I’ve heard a lot of good comments that there are not as many flies now,” said Chick, realizing this is a battle that may never be over.
The 100 degree temperatures are not only crippling to humans, but also drastically effects the black fly as well. The life span of a black fly is shorter the hotter it is, said Chick.
Magistrate Jack Crossley said he thinks the treatment is working as well. He says there are not as many flies as there have been. Crossley has been battling black flies in his district for years.