This week we set foot in seven Washington County streams in search of more black fly larvae. This month's sampling trip made a transect from Boonesboro, heading north and west, and checking out all the steams along the way to Williamsport. We stopped once again at Antietam Creek at MD-34, but the other six streams were brand new sites for our sampling project. We were joined this month by two public school teachers who are with our lab this week as a part of a program designed to give secondary education science teachers research experiences during the summer. They both had fun getting hands-on experience identifying and collecting different stream insects. They also had a hands-on experience swatting away some of the adult flies near the streams in Boonesboro.
This was the first sampling trip where we came across any streams that did not have any black fly larvae. Some of the streams we sampled had stream bottoms covered in silt, which tends to make substrates unsuitable for larval development. We were also once again unable to sample the Potomac River, as the water level is still much higher than average for this time of the year. Identification of the larvae we have collected so far is proceeding in the lab, so that we will be ready to compare the larval community with the community of adult flies that are currently being collected across the county.