Drones join the fight against mosquitoes

Aircraft tested in Florida Keys

MARATHON, Fla. – Drones are used to protect national security but now these high-tech devices are helping in the fight against mosquitos.

On Monday, the Florida Keys checked out this new tool to take out mosquitoes and the Dengue fever they carry.

A drone took a test flight in Marathon to show how it could be used to spot breeding colonies and knock out swarms.

"If we can find those places more quickly, we can treat them with a bacteria more quickly, making it less likely for the adults to get up and fly," said Michael Doyle of the Florida Key Mosquito Control District.

The aircraft is fitted with thermal cameras. Operators can either chart a course, use cruise control, or pilot it with a video game-like remote control.

"It can get to the hard-to-reach places people can't," said Fred Culbertson of Condor Aerial Optics. "It can get there quicker, instead of sending their team out with boots. They are now targeting the areas because they know where the pools of water are."

Once a drone spots a potential site, an inspector would be called out to take a closer look, followed by a helicopter to spray bacteria to wipe out the mosquitoes.

The Florida Key Mosquito Control District's budget is tight, so they must find new ways to cover the same area with fewer people. The drone could be the answer.