Control of black flies in the Athabasca River: Evaluation and recommendations for chemical control of Simulium arcticum Malloch

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  • The program was designed from feasibility studies to develop and evaluate chemical control of S. arcticum in the Athabasca River. This appeared to be the most immediately achievable and economically practical approach to prevention of severe pest outbreaks and to reduction of farm losses in livestock production. Projects and interagency participation were outlined within six objectives: 1. To identify and characterize the breeding sources of the black fly S. arcticum in the Athabasca River and to develop methods of treating the river with a pesticide to reduce the production of the pest in a selected area; 2. To determine the level and extent of reduction in breeding sources required in abatement operations to provide economic reductions of infestations in contiguous agricultural areas; 3. To estimate infiltration rates for populations of the pest reinfesting agricultural areas from sources outside the area of the abatement operation; 4. To develop methods of monitoring an abatement operation for deleterious effects of treatments on aquatic non-target organisms and the river environment; 5. To develop criteria for acceptable impact on the river environment in conjunction with specifications for pesticidal treatment of river systems; and 6. To assess the impact of infestations of S. arcticum and other related biting flies and the effect of abatement procedures on the productivity of livestock and development of livestock enterprises, and to evaluate the benefits of animal protection in the area. Primary emphasis in these studies has been placed on S. arcticum as the pest incriminated in severe outbreaks of biting flies affecting livestock enterprises in Athabasca County and Improvement District No. 18. The program has been designed to embrace the more extensive problems of biting flies in agriculture, and concomitantly to provide information necessary for management of problems of black flies that occur during the development of resource and recreational industries in northern Alberta.

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