Miami, Aug. 17 (Reuters): The Florida Keys agency charged with keeping the island chain’s mosquito swarms at bay might become the nation’s first to use drones to spot remote breeding grounds as part of efforts to eradicate the insect.
“If you try to get across the small islands it’s back country, it’s jungle,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, who added the drones would not replace boots on the ground, but would help turn eradication efforts into “smart bombing”.
On August 26 the head of North Carolina-based Condor Aerial will demonstrate the Maveric drone on a test flight for officials in hopes of selling the $65,000 aircraft to one of the Sunshine State’s most popular tourist destinations.
The chain of islands begins about an hour south of Miami and stretches nearly 200 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Condor Aerial CEO Fred Culbertson said the drone can fly for 90 minutes at 200 feet. For mosquito control, they will be fitted with thermal cameras.