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Natular G30 Takes Flight: Enhancing Mosquito Management with Drones and the Best Fit Product

written by
Linda McDonagh

Drone usage within mosquito control programs is a relatively novel concept to the industry – though a rapidly growing and useful one. This technology has proven useful both for surveillance as well as product deployment efforts, with five key benefits including the below:

  • Remote sensing and surveillance of larval and adult mosquito hotspots
  • Mapping micro-environmental compositions
  • Reaching and treating otherwise hard-to-reach locations and standing water deposits
  • No operational footprint or impacts on sensitive environments
  • More precise treatments and product application

You can read more about drone usage and its benefits here.

One mosquito abatement district, Madison County Mosquito Abatement (MCMA) has spent the past several years planning, launching, and refining their drone strategy within their mosquito control program. Today, we’re exploring some of the key factors contributing to its success: The inception of their drone program, the rationale behind choosing drones over planes, the tools employed, drone selections, and the importance of the product utilized, in this case, Clarke’s Natular G30.

Why Use Drones for Mosquito Control?

MCMA's fleet of drones in their mosquito control porgram

MCMA began seeking options to improve the efficiency and precision of their mosquito control larviciding product applications, particularly in areas with denser vegetation or more cryptic, difficult to reach mosquito breeding habitats.

After careful consideration, consultation with other programs, and field research, the program purchased their first drone in 2017, in time to begin experimenting with it during that year’s heavier mosquito breeding season. By 2018, multiple drones had been integrated into their mosquito control operations, allowing them to treat these previously troublesome areas much more effectively and easily.

Since 2019, MCMA has complemented their drone applications with Natular G30 treatments, further enhancing their ability to combat mosquito populations effectively.

Overall, MCMA’s program realized several benefits from utilizing both drones within their operations:

Reduced Mosquito Control Operational Costs

MCMA achieved notable reductions in their product usage thanks to the implementation of drones in their program, which demonstrably allowed them to use less product more effectively.

Since 2019, they have utilized a total of 31,175 pounds of Natular G30 for drone applications, averaging a median of 6,235 pounds per year. Additionally, ground applications have accounted for 3,782 pounds of Natular G30, with a median of 756 pounds per year. Overall, this combination resulted in a 25% decrease in overall product usage, highlighting the cost-effectiveness of drone-based mosquito control.

In addition to lowered product usage, MCMA was able to streamline their operations and reduce their seasonal larviciding by 50%, improving their capacity to manage mosquito populations while conserving resources.

 

A man remotely operating a drone

Improved Environmental Footprint

Less product usage aligns with the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which advocates for the use of multiple control methods and the minimal use of chemicals. Lower quantities of mosquito control products mean less chemical residue in the environment for products which may not have as favorable environmental profiles as those utilized by MCMA’s program, the OMRI-listed Natular G30. This can help protect non-target organisms and maintain biodiversity.

In addition, less but more effective product usage across a given mosquito control population helps to mitigate the development of AI resistance in populations, extending the useful life of available mosquito control products.

The use of drones specifically lends itself to literally leaving no footprint on the environments treatments are applied – particularly in comparison to more traditional ground methods which can cause wear and tear on grounds, vegetation, and waterbodies.

A drone being flown over a landscape

Natular G30 for Effective, Targeted, and Drone-Friendly Treatments

The use of Clarke’s Natular G30 in MCMA’s drone control program has had several key benefits, leading to its continued use for several years. These include:

  • Drone-Friendly: Natular G30’s product granules caused no static interference and flowed smoothly from the drone with little to no residue left in the drones’ hoppers. This allowed for higher drone flights where needed and less maintenance upkeep.
  • Precise application: Natular G30’s product granules are also dense enough to penetrate dense vegetation and foliage and reach mosquito breeding sites.
  • Efficacy: The success rate per pound of Natular G30 exceeded that of previously tested products within MCMA’s drone program.

Enhancing Mosquito Control Operations with Drones and the Right Fit Product

MCMA’s application of drone technology allows for precise and efficient mosquito management, particularly in areas with dense vegetation or otherwise inaccessible habitats, enhancing the overall effectiveness of mosquito control measures.

Their use of Natular G30, an environmentally friendly product, further underscores the district’s commitment to sustainable practices – while selecting a product that enhances the performance capability of their drone equipment.

The Madison County Mosquito Abatement District’s initiative serves as a model for the integration of technology and sustainability in mosquito control. It demonstrates the potential of innovative, eco-friendly solutions in addressing public health challenges and sets a benchmark for future developments in the industry. This is not just about mosquito control; it’s about advancing the industry towards more effective and sustainable solutions.

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