In a first for South Bay, California, drones are being utilized to combat mosquitoes following an unusually wet winter. The Santa Clara Vector Control District has initiated drone usage this week to help reduce the growing mosquito population.
Nayer Zahiri, the district's manager, explained that they aim to control the mosquito stages before they become adults. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, where larvae hatch. The district will use drones to apply larvicide in non-residential areas, as adult mosquitoes are challenging to control.
“As you see a lot of standing water, a lot of waters around and we want to make sure we are able to control the stages we can control before they become adults,” Zahiri said. “This material is so friendly and only effective on target mosquito larvae. Not harm to any other insect or any other animals.”
Drones provide a faster, more accurate solution for reaching remote areas, with a reduced impact on habitats. Agricultural drone pilot Joseph Daviss from Leading Edge Aerial Technologies revealed that the drone can carry 40 pounds and sprays at a pre-programmed speed.
Santa Clara County is home to 20 mosquito species, which can transmit diseases like West Nile virus. While the county is taking proactive measures, they're urging residents to eliminate any standing water where mosquitoes can reproduce.
Edgar Nolasco, Director of CEPA Santa Clara County, reportedly advised residents to clean bird baths and pet bowls weekly, and to remove old, unused kiddie pools.
As South Bay residents prepare for the heightened mosquito season, they're taking additional precautions, such as installing new screen doors and draining ponds to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
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