Government Stepping In To Help Local Community Deal With Midges

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An infestation of flies. One local community has seen such a significant increase in the tiny, pesky insects, that now the governor is now stepping in to help.

The insects are called midges, and experts believe pollution from a wastewater treatment plant is causing them to multiply, which is bad for business.

“It’s like they’re coming off the water,” said Sheila Parrish. “I don’t know what it is, just terrible at nighttime.”

These insects have flown into people’s mouths and nose, and the invasion has gotten so bad that residents have started petitioning leaders for help.

“I’ve lost 50 percent of my business, this man here at Brewer’s Landing had to close nights because the bugs are so into the drinks, the ice, he’s actually had to close up the bard outside and send people inside,” said Sam Weaver, with Back River Restoration.

In the daytime, it’s not that bad, but when it gets dark, that’s when the bugs come out.

“They hit you in your face and it’s gross,” said Cheyna Licon. “I mean, we get through it, we close down, go back inside, but it doesn’t mess with our money at all.”

The state believes pollution from the Back River wastewater treatment plant caused the flies to breed.

Experts say 500 larvae per square meter is considered a nuisance, but in the Back River area, that number is 24 times higher, sitting at 12,000.

“We’ve heard the outcry of local residents loud and clear, and we are stepping in to answer their call for action,” said Gov. Larry Hogan.

The governor says the state has given $288 million to upgrade the wastewater plant, and the nearby residents are grateful a fix is coming.

“There are elderly people living on the water front that won’t open the door after dark,” said one resident. “They’ll wave to you, they’ll talk to you through the door, but they will not open the door. So it will improve the whole area.”

The Department of Agriculture has been directed to start treatment to get this infestation under control.

People in the area tell WJZ the midge infestation has been a problem for about seven years.

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