Residents in Northern Monroe County are plagued by pest known to swarm around people’s heads on warm days.
We’re talking about the annoying black flys that are often referred to as gnats.
But they’ve been so bad this season in Pocono Lake that residents haven’t been able to go outside and enjoy the spring weather at all.
Pocono Lake Resident Jackie Woodward says, "Help!"
Woodward hasn’t sat on her porch yet this spring. She’s forced to stay indoors.
Woodward says, "These bugs are relentless. Hoards around your head and they’ll fly up your nose and your eyes."
Her neighbor Jackie Iannizzotto tells us it’s a process to be outside. But even with the bug spray, insect head nets and wearing covering clothing, she hasn’t been able to stay out for more than 10 minutes in her Pocono Lake private community.
Iannizzotto says, "It’s impossible to do spring cleanup, any outdoor activity, even walking around the lake. They’re flying into you, you’re wacking them."
Today isn’t as bad as it’s been with the black flies. The neighbors tell us it’s refreshing to be able to take a few minutes to chat without being eaten alive.
Iannizzotto says, "As the day goes on and the sun comes out and hits the front of the house, you can just see the swarms of them."
They have to deal with the annoying pest each year. Iannizotto has plants like basil and mint which are known to keep them away, and candles and sprays she uses to help. But nothing seems to be working this time around. And usually they’re only bugged for two or three weeks. This season it’s going on about eight.
Woodward says, "I wish there were something they could do yes to help control this bug population."
Iannizotto has made a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Unfortunately, Monroe County doesn’t participate in the agency’s Black Fly Program so it does not conduct any spraying or control work. But we are told complaints from the Poconos come in yearly for the nuisance that emerges from streams each year. They can last for several weeks to a month and then are gone.
Iannizzotto says, "For some reason, I just think this year, over the past two weeks has just been the worst I’ve ever seen."
The residents hope this mild day is the beginning of the end of being bugged by the flies. They hope next spring they die off much quicker.