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Western Montana drone takes aim at mosquitoes

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 23:29:29-04

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 says 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 tells MTN News that 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.

mosquito drone
The Flathead Valley uses a drone to seek out mosquito larvae. (MTN News photo)

While mosquitos can be annoying, Rubow reminds people that they do 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 also says that people shouldn’t be surprised to see the drone flying overhead. However, there are strict guidelines and the drone abides by FAA rules and can’t fly over your property without your permission.

Story by Maren Siu, MTN News