Drones could soon help with mosquito control

Drones could soon help with mosquito control

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Inside the "play room" of the LSU Biological and Agricultural Engineering building, teams of undergraduate and graduate students are developing the next generation of Ag technology.

Each student project has a different focus, but many involve remote sensing- gathering data by air or by water- using drones. The potential applications for that kind of data collection are endless.

However, one project has caught the attention of the East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control.

"With the drones we can center in on a small area, concentrate on that small area and reduce costs in terms of man power and also the amount of pesticide," said EBR Abatement Director Todd Walker.

A graduate project is using drones to survey areas that may have a high mosquito population. Drones can fly into areas that are difficult to reach by truck or foot, and could help abatement officials find and target specific breeding grounds that need to be treated.

"Especially areas where you don't want to spend too much money or impact other things, this could be very, very useful," said Associate Professor Steven Hall.

The EBR Mosquito Abatement is working with LSU to develop contracts and a program to add these drones to its arsenal of tools. While there are still hurdles to overcome, like federal regulations on flying drones, this technology could be flying into mosquito populations within a year. "I think it will become an integral part of mosquito control in this nation in the near future," said Walker.

"I think that's the future, the young people that are using these technologies and now they're thinking about many applications that they can use these for," said Hall.

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