Drones: A New Way To Control Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are public enemy number one. These insects have been tormenting humans for centuries. With so many species of mosquitoes out there, we’re not even close to getting rid of them. If these pesky insects would only bite and leave us be, we might not have that much of a problem with them.

Bees sting, which hurts considerably more than a mosquito bite. But we still protect them because they are useful pollinators and give us honey. Mosquitoes, however, only give us dangerous diseases. These include Zika, malaria, dengue fever, West Nile fever, filariasis, and so on. When a mosquito bites a person infected with malaria, they transfer the virus to the next person they feed off. This is typically how mosquitoes spread disease.

Mosquitoes have a relatively short lifespan. Females live for up to 56 days while the males live up to 10 days. Both male and female mosquitoes can feed on nectar. Females need our blood to develop their eggs. Since human flesh is softer compared to other animals, we’re a favorite victim.

A female mosquito will feed on blood until its abdomen is full. If interrupted before then, it will just move on to the victim and continue. After finishing, it goes to rest and then lays its eggs, then the cycle will begin again. A female mosquito can lay up to five clutches during its lifetime. A single clutch can contain more than 100 eggs. 

Now you have a good idea of why they are such a nuisance.

Drones are Useful

It might be unusual to think of drones and mosquitoes at the same time, unless you’re thinking about the buzzing sound they both make.

Drones are definitely here to stay. They’ve become quite useful to humans. Drones are used in many different areas of human activity, ranging from warfare to agriculture, surveillance, photography, and recreation.

They offer us a birds-eye view of a large area at once. Several perspectives we couldn’t see before have now become commonplace. This is all thanks to the technological ingenuity that made drones possible.

Mosquitoes are a Menace

Drones have yet again found a way to making human life easier and more interesting. They’ve joined in the war on mosquitoes. Luckily for us, they’re on our side.

There are many different ways that drones are helping us curb mosquito infestations. According to some estimations, these blood-thirsty insects infect more than 200 million people per year on a global scale. On top of that, they end up causing the deaths of approximately half a million people every year.

You would agree that this is more than enough reason to intensify our war against mosquitoes. You’ll find some of the ways humans are using drones for mosquito control highlighted below.

Mapping and Surveillance

It’s common knowledge that mosquitoes lay eggs in aquatic habitats. These include irrigated farms, water-logged culverts, river fringes, puddles, etc. In most cases, they lay their eggs in remote areas, as if they knew what was going on. These are areas that aren’t easy to access, giving their eggs better chances of survival.

Public health authorities need to know the location of these breeding and nesting zones. You can’t deal with mosquitoes if you can’t find them. This is where drones for mosquito control come in. They give us the advantage of aerial viewing, which makes it a lot easier to map out a large expanse of land and pinpoint where mosquitoes dwell.

In terms of surveilling and mapping mosquito strongholds, drones have given us a massive advantage by saving a lot of time and energy. Before drones, this mapping was being done manually, which required a lot of manpower and time. In all honesty, the battle between man and mosquito is time sensitive. The longer we wait, the more mosquitoes we’ll have to deal with.

Applying Treatment

Another way drones are helping in the war against mosquitoes is by apply mosquito treatment aerially after they’ve helped us map where these bloodsuckers live and breed. We can put them to further use by using drones fitted with tanks to treat those remote areas.

Insect drones are often used to spray larvicide over breeding zones with more precision to mosquito larvae before they become adults. Killing the larvae before they mature is an effective approach to mosquito control.

It would take a few individuals day to treat a 100-acre tract of land for mosquitoes. By using a specialized mosquito drone, the same treatment can be completed in just a day. Additional means of control are used for adult mosquitoes.

Deploying Mosquitoes

This method is quite an ingenious one. It involves deploying sterile male mosquitoes into a mosquito-infested zone. Deploying mosquitoes against mosquitoes might seem counter-productive. But by the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a better understanding of why this is useful.

The idea is for these sterile male mosquitoes to mate with infected females. Since these females will no longer lay eggs, over time the infected females will die out. This is a smooth way to essentially kill off infected mosquitoes. Bug drones are specially built with a chamber that houses hibernated mosquitoes.

These bug drones fly out to remote areas that are difficult for humans to reach. These drones release the sterile mosquitoes so that they can infiltrate the infested areas and start the control process.

Another advantage of this approach, as stated earlier, is the speed of delivery. It would take considerably longer for humans to find their way to these remote areas and deploy the sterile mosquitoes.

Conclusion

The use of drones is a great leap forward in the war against mosquitoes and the diseases they spread. As good as drones are, there are still some issues that might affect their efficacy.

Mosquitoes are more rampant in areas that are not so technologically advanced. This means that it may require a lot of explanation to deploy drones there. Deploying sterile mosquitoes is especially difficult in places where the local people already see mosquitoes as harbingers of illnesses and death. So, deploying more of them will require a lot of patience, dialog, and express permission.

Legislation and privacy are also an issue, but as time goes on, we can hope that adjustments will be made to balance things out for the good of all concerned.

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