Flathead County drone combats mosquitoes

Posted at 10:10 AM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 12:10:59-04

KALISPELL – The Flathead Valley has the only mosquito control drone in the state, and it’s used to survey land for bodies of water that house mosquito larvae.

Jake Rubow with the Flathead County Mosquito Control Program said the drone can take preventative measures to control the mosquito season.

“We plan on basically using that as any other form of treatment equipment. We first go out and do a survey to see whether mosquito larvae are present in standing water habitat,” said Rubow.

The technology the drone uses is similar to Google maps. Rubow flies the drone checking for mosquito larvae. If detected, a pesticide safe for humans and the environment is sprayed.

So far this year, Rubow said mosquito activity looks low.

“We haven’t had the extensive flooding so we’ve really been able to target our efforts and keep them under control in most places,” he said.

While mosquitos can be annoying, Rubow reminds people the insects have their place in nature.

“They serve as a food source for a lot of other insects, obviously frogs, birds, bats things like that. They can serve as pollinators,” Rubow said.

He added people should not be surprised to see the drone flying overhead. However, there are strict guidelines and the drone abides by Federal Aviation Administration rules and can’t fly over your property without your permission.

-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News