A ‘mosquito drone’ has been acquired by the City of Brownsville in Texas that will enable the health department to spray for these pesky insects in areas of the town that the city’s fleet of trucks cannot reach.
‘Mosquito drone’ acquired by the City of Brownsville, TX
To spray in hard to reach areas the City of Brownsville has acquired a ‘mosquito drone.’ The health department has had to drone, which spans eight-feet wide and features six motors, since February but it hasn’t been able to use the unmanned aircraft because of COVID-19 related delays.
“This is the only drone to be operated for mosquito mitigation south of Houston. The next drone like this is at College Station at the USDA facility,” said Brownsville Public Health Director Art Rodriguez, according to The Brownsville Herald.
The health department was able to acquire the mosquito drone through funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Hurricane Harvey Relief Grant. The city has also obtained funding to hire an entomologist — a scientist who studies insects, as well as a vector tech to support the drone’s mapping capabilities, according to the news outlet.
“This drone is big enough that it has its own little platform. It looks like a homemade thing with long arms. It almost looks like a spider,” Rodriguez said.
The mosquito drone is the largest aircraft from the company the city bought it from so that it could handle the strong winds across South Texas’ flat open land.
The unmanned aircraft can carry three different payloads for mosquito mitigation:
- Larvicide, which kills eggs laid in water
- Adulticide for grown mosquitos
- A granular hopper that can hold up to 35 pounds of mosquito-killing granules
The drone can be programmed to spray a certain stretch of land. The unmanned aircraft flies the selected area in a pre=programmed grid pattern and will return home automatically when the battery is low or when the spraying is finished.
Some of the areas north of the town are often inaccessible to spray vehicles after it rains.
“Now with this drone and the granular hopper, we can just fly over it and get into areas that we couldn’t spray before, making it a lot easier and safer,” said Henry Presas, Nurse Analyst for COB Public Health.
Apart from spraying to fight mosquitoes, we have recently seen many drones that are used to disinfect public areas to help fight the coronavirus.
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Photo: Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald