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Lee County deploys drones in mosquito control efforts

Lee County is now using drones to reach previously untreated areas in its fight to control the mosquito population.

This use of drones follows in the footsteps of the Collier Mosquito Control District, which began using drones for a similar purpose in April 2019.

Attached to each drone is a container of liquid that will be sprayed as it flies. Once a certain area is mapped for focus, the drone can do the rest. The mosquito control district was targeting a specific invasive plant, the common water hyacinth, that thrives alongside canals and attracts a lot of mosquitoes.

“In addition to controlling an invasive species, it also helps us to control mosquitoes because there’s a specific species of mosquito whose larvae will attach itself to these roots, and that species is a very aggressive species of mosquito that causes a lot of problems for people,” said Eric Jackson of the Lee County Mosquito Control District.

Effective as they may prove to be, using these drones is still very new to the district.

“Right now we’re in the initial phase, just testing it out and seeing what works for us,” said Kevin Watts of the Lee County Hyacinth Control District. “We believe that we can use less product and get better results, which is a big plus because that saves taxpayers money here in Lee County. Also, it gives us the ability to expand our program to do surveillance and identify different plant species and we can get right on top of them.”

But the district says the drones will really come in handy for accessing remote areas their cars can’t easily reach.

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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