How drones in South Bay are combatting an expected heightened mosquito season

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
How drones are combatting an expected heightened mosquito season
Santa Clara County is being proactive in using drone technology to help reduce the mosquito population after the extensive winter storms, but here's what you can do to help.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- For the first time, drone technology is taking off to combat mosquitos in the South Bay after an unprecedented rainy winter.

Mosquito season just started and this week the Santa Clara Vector Control District will begin using drones to reduce the mosquito population.

Nayer Zahiri, the county's Vector Control District manager, said other districts in the state are using it.

"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.

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Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water which then hatch larvae.

The county's Vector Control District will use drones for applying larvicide in non-residential areas.

Experts say once mosquitos are adults, they're difficult to control.

"This material is so friendly and only effective on target mosquito larvae. Not harm to any other insect or any other animals," Zahiri said.

Drones can access remote areas. Experts say they're faster, more accurate, and have less of an impact on habitat.

MORE: Invasive day-biting mosquitoes discovered in Santa Clara Co.; officials detail potential dangers

Agricultural drone pilot Joseph Daviss for Leading Edge Aerial Technologies said the drone is capable of carrying 40 pounds.

"It's spraying at a pre-programmed speed," Daviss said.

There are 20 species of mosquitos in Santa Clara County. Mosquitos can carry several diseases, one of them is West Nile virus.

The county says they're being proactive but they need everybody's help. They're encouraging residents to get rid of any kind of standing water where mosquitos can reproduce.

Edgar Nolasco, Director of CEPA Santa Clara County, said bird baths and pet bowls need to be cleaned out once a week.

"If you have an old kiddie pool that kids are not using anymore that has collected rain and has mold, that is the perfect environment for a mosquito - mosquitos love those areas," Nolasco said.

VIDEO: How to keep mosquitoes away after a flood

Standing water provides an ideal location for pesky mosquitoes to lay eggs, and they can spread diseases like malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus and Zika.

At Alviso Marina County Park, ABC7 News spoke with San Jose resident Daisy Lozano who said her family is installing new screen doors.

"The ones we had before were just the open and shut but right now, we're doing the magnetic ones we find that immediately closing right after," Lozano said.

James Romero said he's always outdoors, he likes to go fishing at least once a week.

"I have a pond and I drained it so that's empty you know, other than that I have nothing. Hopefully, it won't be as bad as they think it's going to be."

For more information on ways to eliminate mosquito-breeding sources, click here.

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