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Bannock County using drones to fight mosquitoes this summer


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POCATELLO (KPVI) — Bannock County officials are working to keep mosquito infestations to a minimum this summer and they’re not using conventional methods.

Bannock County has taken to the air with drones to fight the pesky insects.

“I get to get out and do something I love,” Bannock County Drone Pilot Stephen Harker said.

For Harker doing something he loves means getting rid of a pest many people hate. And for the county, it means greater efficiency in the fight against mosquitoes.

“What we found is with a lot of our other equipment it would take us a long time to get into areas,” Bannock County Noxious Weed and Mosquito Supervisor David Herter says. “Or we couldn’t even get into those areas because of access and with the drone we’re able to fly over and take care of that issue.”

And it’s not just mosquitoes the county is tackling with its drones. The drones make it possible to control both mosquitoes and noxious weeds that normally would be almost impossible to reach on foot.

Liquid weed killer and natural bacteria pellets that kill mosquito larvae are used on the drone. County officials say using a drone is a more efficient form of application.

“You’re flying exactly where you want it to be, so we don’t have issues of overlap or not enough,” Herter says, “So, it’s amazing that way. We really like it and we’re actually seeing that we use less product, which we definitely all like.”

The drone also allows the county to cover more area in less time while also using less product, which equals monetary savings.

For those who operate the drone, it’s a big responsibility.

“Overhead power lines are usually my biggest enemy. And with the larva sighting, big-flat areas, you have to really pay attention to what’s around you,” Harker says.

Officials say you can do your part to fight mosquitos by replacing standing water, like bird baths, every couple days.

This article was originally published by KPVI. It is used here with permission.