A Brief History of Annual Meetings of Black Fly Workers in North America

By Peter H. Adler (Division of Entomology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0315, USA)

An annual meeting of workers interested in black flies has been held in North America since 1977. The first of the annual meetings was a conference organized and hosted by J. F. Burger at Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, in early 1977. The conference led to the organization, in October 1977, of Northeast Regional Project NE-118 (Black Fly Damage Thresholds, Biology and Control), under the auspices of the United States Department of Agriculture. Under the umbrella of NE-118, an annual meeting was held from 1978 to 1996. The project’s original mission was outlined by J. F. Burger, E. W. Cupp, J. D. Edman, J. Granett, and R. W. Merritt. Its history has been written by Adler et al. (2001).

NE-118 originally consisted of six participating states: Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, and New York. Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia joined in 1978 and Maryland joined in 1979. Most states participated for the remainder of the project, although Rhode Island and Delaware left the project in the early 1980s. NE-118 grew into an international forum, with participants from countries such as Canada and England routinely joining the group. By the late 1980s, the project officially had expanded beyond the northeastern United States to include formal representation from Arizona, California, Florida (1985 only), Nebraska, and South Carolina. Quebec and Ontario officially joined in 1991.

In 1998, NE-118 was replaced with a new five-year project that operated in an official, but less formal, configuration under the auspices of the Southern Extension and Research Activities Information Exchange Group (SERA-IEG) of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. The project was entitled Black Fly Biology, Economic Problems, and Management, or SERA-IEG-29, and was authored by P. H. Adler and J. W. McCreadie. The group held annual meetings, typically in Florida, that usually attracted about 30 or more attendees from around the world.

When SERA-IEG-29 expired at the end of 2002, no formal vehicle existed to allow interested simuliid workers to continue meeting annually. The participants of the final SERA-IEG meeting, therefore, decided to continue meeting informally once each year. In 2003, the North American Black Fly Association (NABFA) was formed, with no formal administration but under which the annual meetings continue to be held.


Adler, P. H., R. W. Merritt, J. F. Burger & D. P. Molloy. 2001. A brief history of Northeast Regional Project NE-118 in the USA. British Simuliid Group Bulletin 17: 16-20.

Stephen M. Smith
British Simuliid Group Bulletin No. 32 July 2009, pages 15-18
Recounting black fly conference held in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada, 14–16 September 1962

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