Santa Clara County will use drones to tackle abundance of mosquitoes this spring

Santa Clara County is employing new technology in its war on mosquitoes with drones. The drones will conduct targeted spraying of the pests starting this week.

Lots of rain this winter means lots of mosquitoes this spring. In Santa Clara County, the marsh is already all abuzz.

But this year vector control is testing out drones. They can fly in hard-to-reach areas, minimize the impact on fragile ecosystems, and provide a more precise application of larvicide.

"Of course technology is exciting no matter what. We are so excited to have that technology to control our mosquitoes," says Dr. Nayer Zahiri of Santa Clara County Vector Control.

And the rush is on to get those drones in the air. Cool weather has kept the mosquitoes at bay so far. But soon they'll be mature and hungry.

"That would be really, really difficult to control. Because those mosquitoes we are going to control, shortly they are going to emerge to adult stage which is the biting stage and the number is significantly a lot," says Zahiri.

Leading Edge Aerial Technologies will be operating the drones, and they'll start by targeting 73 acres in the Palo Alto Marsh area.
Vector control says in order to prevent disease and protect public health, the mosquitoes have to go.

"We are hoping at least most of them. Of course there are going to be some that fly out. We cannot control that one. But by timing we get 90%," says Zahiri.

Officials say you too should be on the lookout for standing water in your yards. Drain it if you can, call vector control for help if you can't.

The drone is supposed to take its first flight this week, weather permitting.