Baltimore County Continues Midge Population Control Efforts At Back River, Citing Success Of 2022 Aerial Treatment Program


Credit: Baltimore County Government/ Twitter

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore County commenced treatment for midge larvae at the city's Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant on Tuesday, marking progress in curbing the nuisance midge population in Back River.

The project started in April of 2022, with the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (DEPS) conducting aerial treatments to suppress midges across a 1200-acre section of upper Back River.

In February of 2023, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced the continuation of midge control efforts. According to the county, the 2022 project resulted in a "significant" reduction in Back River's midge population, spurring efforts to continue treatment.

"The continuation of this program is great news for the residents of Baltimore County, specifically the Back River. The Maryland Department of Agriculture and Baltimore County's partnership in addressing the midge problem that has plagued the region demonstrates a strong commitment to a county/state relationship," Maryland Department of Agriculture Acting Secretary Kevin Atticks said.

The treatment involves using Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a naturally occurring bacteria found in soil. It specifically targets midge, black flies, mosquito larvae, and other aquatic flies at certain stages in their life cycles. It is safe for people, fish, crabs, and other aquatic invertebrates.

Midge treatment at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Credit: Baltimore County Government/ Twitter)

The county's contractor, Helicopter Applicators Inc., employs trained, certified technicians to spray the Bti-based larvicide from a low-flying helicopter during daylight hours, taking care to avoid boaters and human activity in and around the water.

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