Orange County now using drone technology to fight mosquitoes

Orange County now using drone technology to fight mosquitoes
KABC logo
Monday, July 3, 2023 2:01AM

Orange County now using drone technology to fight mosquitoes

SoCal is seeing a spike in the mosquito population following winter’s heavy rains, and drone technology is being used to combat the potential spread of disease.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) — Orange County has a new tool in the fight against mosquitoes following winter’s heavy rains.

Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District is now using a drone to attack mosquito development in marshes, large ponds and parks.

Mosquitoes grow into larvae from eggs laid in water, making proliferation of the biting bugs a major concern after the state’s recent rain.

“There’s quite a bit more mosquitoes due to the rain,” said John Savage, who recently operated the drone at San Joaquin Marsh Reserve near the University of California, Irvine. “You can see out here almost every single marsh pond is full of water.”

Common methods of applying anti-mosquito treatments involve use of backpack sprayers, trucks, airplanes and helicopters. The drone allows more precise treatments and avoids the need to trample through sensitive lands, according to the district.

The drone is flown higher than all nesting birds and allows access to places that can’t be reached by a person with a backpack sprayer or trucks, said Kiet Nguyen, a vector ecologist for the district.

“We’re always looking for advancements in technology — what can get the job (done) more efficient, more beneficial to the team and less invasive,” Nguyen said.

The drone is able to treat 1 acre of land in under two minutes, a task that would take more than an hour of hiking by a worker with a backpack.