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The Florida Mosquito Control Association’s annual meeting was to be held at Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, Florida on November 13, 2017. Unfortunately, Hawks Cay Resort was closed due to Hurricane Irma’s destruction in the Florida Keys, leaving the FMCA Annual meeting without a facility to host the meeting. The FMCA Executive Board did an incredible job relocating the annual meeting to the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Kissimmee Florida in less than 45 days.
Andrea Leal, Director of The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and Bill Reynolds of Leading Edge Associates, were invited to speak at the Commissioner’s Session on Thursday November 16th about the current and future use of drones in mosquito control. Andrea shared their experiences with using drones in the Florida Keys for aerial surveillance and presented the time saved by rapidly identifying the presence of water in remote breeding sites. To reach these remote locations would take 1-1.5 hours on foot, only to discover the potential breeding sites were dry.
Bill Reynolds discussed the operational use of drones for surveillance, multispectral imagery and aerial applications of larvacides, both liquid and granular formulations. In addition, Bill noted that many users across the country, and internationally, are benefiting from drone technology, specifically for mosquito control. Because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a specific process for the safe integration of drones into the National Airspace (NAS), Bill detailed how a public agency can attain a Certificate of Authorization (COA). There was a high level of interest and numerous questions by the commissioners on operating drones for mosquito surveillance and aerial applications of materials to control mosquito populations. Leading Edge’s booth in the vendor hall offered a great opportunity for all attendees of the Florida Mosquito Control Association, including the commissioners, to see many of these unmanned aerial systems up close and in person.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems will change the mosquito control profession, making it much more safe and productive. This technology has the capacity to enhance many industries and mosquito control is no exception.
For more information, please contact Bill Reynolds 407-468-0008 or Shanon Kern at 916-718-3005.