Thursday, June 16, 2005

Black fly swarms pester Suisun City

From the Daily Republic, Fairfield // June 16, 2003
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By Barry Eberling // staff writer

SUISUN CITY - A tiny, biting insect caused a big problem in some parts of Suisun City this week.

The city got reports from citizens describing swarms of the flying insects. The Police Department phoned a recorded message to Montebello Vista and Lawler Ranch residents telling them of the situation and advising them to stay inside.

"We're not talking about a couple of hundred (insects) around your house, we're talking about a couple thousand," said Gemma Geluz, who took the citizen calls for the city. "Hopefully, they'll die off soon."

City officials said the insects are black flies, also known as buffalo gnats. The insects apparently came from Suisun Marsh because of a convergence of weather factors, such as late rains and heat.

But the locations of these swarms has been spotty.

Jan Greenwell lives in Montebello Vista. She didn't see huge swarms of the bugs, but she did see them.

"They're almost like a little gnat," Greenwell said.

And she felt their bites.

"On the back, on the arm, on the ear," Greenwell said. "My husband, his legs are all bit up. They're like mosquito bites."

Black flies are persistent biters and will even crawl into hair to bite the scalp, the city's Web site said. Bites are usually worse than those from mosquitos and can bleed long after the insect is gone.

City Councilman Pete Sanchez lives in Lawler Ranch. He heard the city phone message about the insects went out to 2,000 residents, but he didn't see anything unusual in his neighborhood bordering the marsh.

"I figured there must be too much of a strong wind in my area," Sanchez said. "They didn't reach my part of Lawler Ranch. I would definitely hear from my neighbors. They see me outside all the time."

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or

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