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Orange County enlists drone technology to combat mosquitoes

Time to Read: 2 minute
Orange County enlists drone technology to combat mosquitoes
Orange County enlists drone technology to combat mosquitoes
Khushbu Kumari

According to the plan, using the drone can treat 1 acre of land in less than two minutes, a task that would take more than an hour of walking for a worker with a backpack.

For some years now, the use of drones to fight mosquito-borne diseases has become an increasingly recurrent option.

Among its uses, for example, Brazil used this technique in urban and rural areas to combat the spread of the Zika virus, so now Orange County will seek to emulate this technique to mitigate the reproduction of this insect.

According to official information, in the face of strong winter rains, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District is now using a drone to target mosquito breeding in wetlands, large ponds, and parks.

Mosquitoes hatch into larvae from the eggs they lay in the water, making the proliferation of biting insects a major concern after recent rains in the state.

“There are a little more mosquitoes because of the rain,” said John Savage, who recently operated the drone in the San Joaquin Marsh Preserve near the University of California, Irvine. “You can see here that almost all the ponds in the swamps are filled with water”

Common methods of applying mosquito treatments involve the use of backpack sprayers, trucks, planes, and helicopters. The drone allows for more precise treatments and avoids the need to trample on sensitive terrain, according to the district.

The drone flies higher than all nesting birds and allows access to places that a person with a backpack sprayer or trucks cannot reach, said Kiet Nguyen, a vector ecologist for the district.

“We're always looking for advances in technology, what can get the job done (done) more efficiently, more beneficial to the team and less intrusive,” said Nguyen.

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