Health officials in Orange County are warning that this mosquito season could be the worst one in years thanks to the recent rains that soaked Southern California, and crews are now employing drones to help control the population.
Inspector Mike DuBose with the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District says they are already seeing more than double the number of mosquitoes in some areas compared to past seasons.
The pest-fighting drones, which won’t be deployed in residential neighborhoods, are especially effective in rural areas, according to DuBose.
“So, there’s many areas that are very sensitive,” the inspector told KTLA. “These are sensitive habitats throughout Orange County, such as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Upper Newport Bay. We’re in bird nesting season, so in many areas, we can’t just simply walk into areas and disturb nests. For this reason, we can target those areas that we can’t easily walk into.”
The drones, according to DuBose, carry 20 pounds of a substance that can be dispersed over some of those sensitive habitats with standing water in order to target mosquito larvae before they become an adult population.
“This a naturally occurring soil bacterium,” DuBose said. “This is a very species-specific bacterial chemical that we use to control mosquito larvae. It controls the mosquito larvae without impacting other aquatic organisms.”
The inspector added that now is a good time to check your own home for standing water in any areas around the property. Even a little bit of standing water is enough for mosquito larvae to grow.