ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - In Ascension Parish the fight against mosquitoes is going high-tech with a high flying new tool, a drone equipped to spray pesticides.
"This is technology at its best. With this type of technology with the drone we can actually go out to the birth place of mosquitoes, which is water," said David Matassa, director of Ascension Mosquito control.
The drone is about four feet across and can hold three gallons, or up to 20 pounds, of pesticides. It's capable of saturating seven to ten acres of land in hard to reach places which the manufacturer says makes it faster and more efficient than workers spraying with hand held pumps.
"You can cover a lot of low lying areas in places where maybe helicopters or planes just can't go to. You can do it faster and on your own time. It's much more cost effective and efficient and your folks can take care of it," said Adam Shaw, CEO of Maverick Drone Systems.
The drone will not replace the trucks and the handheld sprayers already used by the parish, but with mosquito born illnesses becoming a bigger health issue, Matassa said every tool will help.
"With the outbreak of the West Nile virus and recently Zika, it's very important that we tackle the problem heads on. We have a very aggressive program," said Matassa.
The experts at Maverick Drones are training crews on how to fly and use the drone which costs about the same as the sprayers used on the back of trucks used by mosquito control. Once the drone operator is certified, Matassa expects to deploy their new addition within a few weeks.