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Two Drones Could Be Flying Over Placer County In Search For Mosquitoes

Jae C. Hong / AP

Jae C. Hong / AP

The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District has two new weapons in its fight against disease-carrying mosquitoes. The district plans to use drones to help spot places where mosquitoes could breed.

Two small drones could be flying over remote areas in Placer County soon on the hunt for mosquitoes. Joel Buettner with the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District says one of the drones is water-proof.

"We're going to land this thing on the water and try to look for larval mosquitoes in the water with the camera," says Buettner.

The unmanned aerial systems may even be able to deploy and fetch mosquito traps in remote areas. Buettner says drones can reduce equipment and labor costs, and can better survey larger, remote, or environmentally-sensitive areas. Eventually the district wants to use the drones to apply pesticides.

"There isn't an off-the-shelf vector control mosquito spray drone," says Buettner. "We would have to probably modify an established drone that's used for say agricultural applications and then modify it to our specifications for mosquito control."

Buettner says state regulations make it difficult to use drones to spray pesticides, but that could change. The district will be using the drones for surveillance this season.

 pesticidesdronesPlacer Countymosquito

Amy Quinton

Former Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio 

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