Paul Smiths, NY, Jun 05, 2014 — This pest of the northern spring can travel up to twenty miles on the wind. How to get away? Dress in yellow, some suggest, or tie a dragonfly to your hat. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager consult. Go to full article
Andrea Malik applies a BTI treatment by a beaver dam in Colton. Black fly eggs need running water to hatch, so they're an easy target. Photo: David Sommerstein
Apr 21, 2014 — It's one of the cruelest fates dealt the North Country. The snow's gone. The warm sun's finally back. And just when we're dying to bask in spring, the black flies begin to swarm.
A couple dozen towns in the North Country try to take a stand. They treat thousands of miles of streams to kill the nasty, biting bugs. It's all done by hand, dozens of people slogging miles through the deep woods to deliver a bacteria that's fatal to black flies: Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, or BTI.
One woman in St. Lawrence County has dedicated almost 30 years of her life to battling the black fly. David Sommerstein profiled her in 2007. Go to full article
Andrea Malik mixes a potion of BTI, deadly to black flies...
May 02, 2007 — It's one of the cruelest fates dealt the North Country. The snow's gone. The warm sun's finally back. Just when we're dying to bask in spring...the black flies begin to swarm - and bite. More than 30 towns in the region fight back. They treat 3500 miles of streams to kill the black flies before they even hatch. It's all done by hand -- dozens of people bushwhacking miles through the deep woods to deliver doses of a bacteria known as BTI. One woman in St. Lawrence County has dedicated 22 years of her life to battling the black fly. David Sommerstein profiles the "black fly diva." Go to full article
May 02, 2007 — The bacteria BTI is very specific. Aside from black flies, it can also be used to kill mosquito larvae in standing water. BTI was isolated in the 1970s in Israel, hence its name, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. It was first used to reduce mosquito- and fly-borne diseases. To learn more, David spoke with the leading authority on BTI in New York, Dr. Daniel Molloy. He's an aquatic biologist with the New York State Museum. He says BTI produces protein crystals. Go to full article
Jul 20, 2006 — This pest of the northern spring targets other species than humans. Some varieties annoy deer and some live in the tree canopy to bedevil the birds. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager enumerate the victims. Go to full article