Despite Pa., plan to trim pest-control funds, DEP ready for black flies, mosquitoes

    Pennsylvania’s effort to control pests such as mosquitoes and black flies is slated to take a $200,000 hit in the proposed budgets of Gov. Tom Corbett and Senate lawmakers.

    Funding for the state’s programs to control black flies and West Nile virus stands to be cut by about 3 percent overall.

    Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection, however, say the cuts won’t hamper the department’s ability to control black-fly nuisances and the potential health threat of diseased mosquitoes.

    That’s the case even though the pests have gotten a jump-start on summer.

    “Really, all species of insects are out much earlier than in years prior,” said Amanda Witman, DEP spokeswoman. “This can be attributed to the amount of precipitation that we’ve had, in addition to the exceptionally mild winter.”

    To target the problem, Witman says black fly sprays began earlier than usual this year.

    DEP has reported West Nile-infected mosquitoes in eight counties so far.

    Of the state’s 67 counties, 33 participate in the black-fly control program, while 41 monitor and spray mosquitoes to control West Nile Virus.

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