Mosquitoes. Doesn’t the very word “mosquito” make you want to scratch body extremities? Efforts to control and eliminate the universally-disliked insect are reaching an unprecedented level. In the Florida Keys, considerations are being made to use drones as a means to limit the presence of mosquitoes.
The executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, Michael Doyle, has expressed concern about the condition of mosquitoes in the area, “If you try to get across the small islands it’s back country, it’s jungle.”
On August 26, 2013, the company responsible for creating the drones, Condor Aerial, will conduct initial aerial tests in the Florida Keys where the Maveric drone will fly over the selected location. One drone sells for $65,000, which does not include expenses needed to operate the equipment or salaries associated with flying the aircraft. These drones are only two and a half feet long, weighing at a mere two pounds, yet those responsible for operating this equipment will have to undergo additional training in order to accommodate different skill sets. Pilot training certification will be part of the job training process demanded by inspectors. Other officials involved in the process of using the equipment to maintain these widespread pests will have to complete the necessary steps in order to gain authorization for operation from the Federal Aviation Authority.
The CEO for Condor Aerial, Fred Culbertson, speaking about the purpose of the drones said, “They’re not going to be used for surveillance.”
The technology behind these crafts is partially utilized through thermal cameras which will indicate the specific locations where mosquitoes lay eggs.
Michael Doyle had this to say about the technology, “What we’re looking to see is if this technology can actually see shallow water either out in the open or under mangroves, and how much land can it cover quickly so the inspectors can get out that day.”
Since water is a necessary component in the life cycle of any mosquito, whether through stagnant water, rain water holes in trees, open pastures subject to occasional ponds, areas with melted snow, or disregarded sewage ponds, this technique may prove invaluable.