TURNER — Residents told selectmen Monday night that flies have taken over their lives.

It was the first meeting for newly elected Angelo Terreri.

Laura Balhelder, who lives on Betty Road about a half mile from the Moark Egg Farm, said she has lived in Turner for 15 years but now can’t enjoy her home, her pool or her patio thanks to the flies.

Gregory Trask, who lives on Harlow Hill Road about a half mile from Moark, said they had a graduation party and within minutes, all of the fly papers were full of flies and a concrete floor was black with flies. Trask got a little emotional and although Chairman Kurt Youland asked him to keep it down, he said to Trask, “I understand your frustration.”

Selectman Ralph Caldwell said, “This is a different species of fly. I never heard of a fly biting, but these bite. They are also smaller than normal.”

Blair “Skip” Hagy, general manager of Moark’s eastern division, said the company was spending a lot of money, but with the wet spring and now hot weather, it could not keep ahead of the issue.

The crowd made it clear that they wanted a solution.

State Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner, said he contacted the Department of Agriculture and was told it will investigate.

Timberlake also said he spoke to a professor at the University of Maine, who agreed it had been a wet spring and drying out would help. He mentioned that a chemical once used to control fly populations lasted longer with rain than the currently used chemicals.

Timberlake said there was no magic cure, but he would get some people to investigate the problem.

Hagy said he was contacting a fly expert from Georgia who could come and try to help.

Hagy also said that more land is being planted, which means using more manure that if not plowed in immediately will breed more flies.

Caldwell asked about spraying. Hagy said people might object and many insecticides were illegal. Caldwell also said the specific fly needed to be identified since he was sure it was a different species.

Timberlake said Turner is No. 1 in the state for agriculture.

Hagy said they wanted to be good neighbors and were keeping the egg farm free of the manure as fast as they could truck it out.

Youland said they would invite the crowd back in two weeks to see if the situation had improved. Balhelder and Jessica Hafford, who live on Auburn Road, would love to move, but said no one would buy their homes.

An unidentified person said he couldn’t rent to tenants because of the flies.

Three people were present to hear about repairs to Fish Street. Schaub reported that they plan to stabilize 190 feet of banking along the Nezinscot River where erosion and sagging has left the road at risk of sliding into the river. There will be a rock weir and some riprap to hold the water away from the bank.


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