A $90,000 state grant will help scientists at the local Penn State University extension office learn how to best fight the unusual infestation of mushroom flies in Southern Chester County, writes Vinny Vella for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The proliferation of the flies has stumped researchers and caused significant damage. The insects usually lay their eggs in fertile mushroom soil, and while a similar situation has been reported in other states where mushrooms are grown, the numbers here are far larger.
For some, the situation has been unbearable for the last three years.
“People have moved away. People are selling their homes, taking a loss,” said Barbara Runkle, a resident of Harrogate, a retirement community in Landenberg. “When it’s ‘high-fly season,’ you can’t even turn the lights on.”
Harrogate residents have been especially vocal, but they are far from alone. Similar complaints have been made in Kennett Square, Lower and Upper Oxford townships, and Lincoln University.
The state grant will allow a hybrid researcher/community liaison to be hired who will work on developing a new method to fight the flies. This will also help Penn State researchers communicate directly with residents about their concerns.
Read more about the infestation in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.