Solutions still not near for fly infestations
Insects bugging residents in London Grove, Kennett, Franklin and beyond
The large turnout at a town meeting to discuss pesky mushroom flies known as phorids was a clear indication that these insects have invaded a wider area of southern Chester County than was previously thought.
New Garden Township Supervisors Chairman Steve Allaband said he had ordered 165 chairs laid out at the Avondale Fire Company last week, and by the time the meeting started they were full, with other people standing against the walls.
The gathering was called by state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, of West Whiteland, who has been working with the residents of the Harrogate community on their insect invasion problem. The last time they met was in May, when Dinniman was joined by scientists Dave Beyer and Eric Toedter to discuss the severity of the problem and what progress had been achieved in understanding how to attack it. At the time, the residents of this age-restricted community just off Limestone Road told horror stories about the presence of the tiny bugs that are presumed to come from beds where mushrooms grow.
A the forum, the audience included not only those from Harrogate, but others from throughout London Grove, Kennett, Franklin and beyond.
The bugs were still around, they said, and they wanted some action, even asking for mushroom growing operations to be shut down.
This time the speakers included Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Fred Strathmeyer, mushroom industry representative Phil Coles, Beyer and Penn State entomologist Tom Baker, in addition to New Garden Manager Tony Scheivert, and they all had their turns to speak and answer questions.
Strathmeyer voiced his shared frustration with the residents that there was not much of a government response to their problems.
“We have no regulatory authority over what is going on . ... You lost Diazinon (a powerful insecticide that was banned and had killed the phorids). It took care of the flies before,” he said.
He added that to make matters worse, chemical companies do not
Harrogate resident and phorid fly sleuth Barbara Runkle describes her experiences and research on the phorid fly.