Midges become nuisance for Back River, Gov. Hogan offering help

Hogan signed executive order to eradicate pest

If you live or work in Middle River or Back River, no doubt you've dealt with midges  They're small and harmless, but they're causing headaches. So much so that Thursday, Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order to help get rid of them.

People who live and work in the area say the little bugs make summer intolerable. Sam Weaver owns Weaver's Marine Service along the river and says they're such a pest, he's losing business.

"People can't stand to come down and sit out on their boats or enjoy the water front," he said.

Weaver's Marine Service is a mainstay on the Back River. Weaver says swarms of midges on his boats are nothing compared to what he's seen in previous weeks.

"They're so thick you can't tell what color your boat is sometimes when you come down here, you cannot open your mouth," Weaver said.

Karen Kanagy houses her boat on one of the Weaver slips. She said she loves spending time on her boat, but hates the bugs.

"It's very much an issue. Every time I come down, my boat's covered in thousands and thousands of midges," she said.

Midges are harmless pests, but they've caused major issues for many.

"Well it's taken about 50 percent of my business away after we spent $1.5 million on new docks out here now 50 percent of them are empty because of the bugs," Weaver said.

Now, Governor Hogan is stepping in.

"We're taking action to provide immediate relief from this nuisance. This morning I signed an executive order," the governor said Thursday.

That order directs The Maryland Department of Agriculture and The Maryland Department of Natural Resources to immediately begin eradicating the infestation of midges along the Back River.

"They're very annoying, you know, you have to wash off the boat each time you come down and right know I'm in the process of selling my boat so I have to come down and wash my boat off before I show it to anybody," said Kanagy.

Hogan says the solution is one that's safe and effective.

"Using a biological product that is approved for organic farming, recommended by a panel of scientists and which will have no affect on the environment or any other species," he said.

The Department of Natural Resources concluded that outdated water treatment plants contributed to the midge problem.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has been against investing county money towards midge eradication in the past. He said Thursday that he's all for environmental protection initiatives.

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