Current management practices of nuisance black flies are conducted on an area-wide level and rely on the support of the public to implement programs. In Maryland, a vocal group of residents campaigned their representatives to begin a management program for the black fly Simulium jenningsi Malloch.To determine how residents in Maryland and its surrounding states perceived the severity of black fly nuisance, we deployed surveys online and in-person on the ways their outdoor activities were impacted and the preventive methods used to mitigate nuisance. Online respondents, those with children, and those who had lived in the region for a shorter amount of time were more likely to report black flies as ‘extremely annoying'. Quality-of-life concerns stemming from black fly swarms were primarily related to avoiding outdoor exercise and recreation.The majority of respondents used at least one method of personal protection against black fly annoyance, but satisfaction with any method was low. Methods used by respondents included the removal of standing water and rotting vegetation from their properties, indicating a lack of knowledge about black fly breeding habitats.The results contextualized the needs of residents in future management and topics for outreach efforts to address misconceptions about black fly biology.This study offers an example of the application of social science methodology in understanding the needs of stakeholders in area-wide pest management.
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Vol. 57 • No. 6