So­lu­tions still not near for fly in­fes­ta­tions

In­sects bug­ging res­i­dents in Lon­don Grove, Ken­nett, Franklin and beyond

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - THE MERCURY - By Chris Bar­ber cbar­ber@21st-cen­tu­ry­

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.

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