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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381675

Research Project: Improved Aerial Application Technologies for Precise and Effective Delivery of Crop Production Products

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: Utilization of unmanned aerial systems in mosquito and vector control programs

item FARAJI, ARY - Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District
item SORENSEN, BRAD - Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District
item HAAS-STAPLETON, ERIC - Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District
item SCHOLL, MARTY - Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Control District
item GOODMAN, BARRY - Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Control District
item BUETTNER, JOEL - Placer Mosquito And Vector Control District
item SCHON, SCOTT - Placer Mosquito And Vector Control District
item ORTIZ, EVERARDO - Placer Mosquito And Vector Control District
item HARTLE, JAKE - Placer Mosquito And Vector Control District
item LEFKOW, NICHOLAS - Lee County Mosquito District
item LEWIS, COLIN - Lee County Mosquito District
item Fritz, Bradley - Brad
item HOFFMANN, WESLEY - Corteva Agriscience
item WILLIAMS, GREG - Hudson Regional Health Commission

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/4/2021
Publication Date: 11/3/2021
Citation: Faraji, A., Sorensen, B., Haas-Stapleton, E., Scholl, M., Goodman, B., Buettner, J., Schon, S., Ortiz, E., Hartle, J., Lefkow, N., Lewis, C., Fritz, B.K., Hoffmann, W., Williams, G. 2021. Utilization of unmanned aerial systems in mosquito and vector control programs. Journal of Economic Entomology. 114(5):1896-1909.

Interpretive Summary: Organized mosquito control programs have protected public health in the United States for almost a hundred years through targeted surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases. There exists a critical need to develop new technologies to enhance the abilities and overall productivity of these programs. This effort focused on identifying existing unmanned systems and remote imaging and pesticide application technologies that provide for easy integration to successfully monitor and target areas of concern through enhanced applications of control materials. These systems are successfully being adapted and used in numerous control programs across the United States, but a number of key factors that potentially limit the further progression of these technologies were identified. The findings of this work will help provide a foundation for further improvements of existing systems, development of new technologies, and further enhancement of existing surveillance and control workflows to support mosquito control efforts across the country.

Technical Abstract: Organized mosquito control programs (MCP) in the United States have been protecting public health since the early 1900’s. These programs utilize integrated mosquito management for surveillance and control measures to enhance quality of life and protect the public from mosquito-borne diseases. Because much of the equipment and insecticides are developed for agriculture, MCP are left to innovate and adapt what is available for accomplishing their core missions. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, are one such innovation that is quickly being adopted by MCP. The advantages of UAS, particularly from a surveillance perspective, are no longer conjectural, as revealed by the centimeter-resolution imaging capabilities of many of these systems. In addition to locating mosquito larval habitats and landscape imagery, UAS affords MCP real-time LiDAR, multispectral, and thermal imagery; improved aerial insecticide applications; mosquito larval detection for presence and enumeration using artificial intelligence; water quality sampling; and live mosquito larval sampling. These UAS are also being leveraged for applying larvicides to water in habitats that range in size from multi-acre wetlands to small containers in urban settings. Biting adult mosquitoes can also be controlled in urban areas with adulticides applied by UAS. The use of UAS affords quicker inspections and treatments, but also reduces staff exposure to field hazards, equipment cleanup and maintenance, and the environmental impact that comes with the use of heavy equipment in sensitive habitats. UAS are already being utilized by MCP nationally and their use will continue to increase in the coming years as technology advances, regulations change, and battery improvements that increase flight time and payload are developed. Our manuscript will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of UAS in MCP, provide a current update on systems and methods used, and provide a skymap that charts the future direction of UAS technology within MCP tasked with public health protection.