PMVCD Employees working with drone in a field

Creative technology and innovation to maximize resources is a District core value and strategic priority. We believe the right technology and innovations can help us better serve and protect public health in Placer County. We evaluate new technology through our applied research program before incorporation into regular operations.

Drones

Unmanned Aircraft Systems, UAS or drones, offer many benefits to our District.

We started evaluating UAS in 2016. During this project, we laid the foundation for agency and community support, aviation safety culture and operational procedures. We also identified several UAS mission types that benefit or enhance district operations.

  1. Measuring wind and temperature to determine if conditions are right for adult mosquito applications
  2. Monitoring specific mosquito sites over time
  3. Visual assessment of mosquito habitat
  4. Detection of mosquito larvae in water
  5. Application of mosquito larvicides

In 2017, former California Governor Edmund B. Brown Jr. signed AB 527 into law which allows unmanned aircraft pilots to obtain certification to apply pesticides from UAS. This enabled us to move forward with mosquito larvicide application.

Manned aircraft remains an important tool in Placer County, however augmenting manned aircraft missions with UAS or targeting smaller areas of the county with UAS can help to reduce insecticide use in certain circumstances and provide options to better manage insecticide resistance in mosquitoes.

UAS Benefits

  • Zero footprint on marsh and sensitive lands
  • Smaller and more precise aerial treatments
  • Improved irrigation monitoring
  • Increased detection of mosquito larvae
  • Improved employee field safety
  • Reduced noise and fuel emissions
  • Optimized use of field staff time management

Manned aircraft remains an important tool in Placer County, however augmenting with UAS to target smaller areas can help to reduce insecticide use in certain circumstances and provide options to better manage insecticide resistance in mosquitoes.

UAS are operated by a ground-based pilot-in-command who uses a remote transmitter to manually fly the unmanned aircraft or in some cases, uses computer software to plan and execute an automated flight. In all cases, UAS missions must be within the pilot’s line of sight or a designated visual observer and comply with all applicable federal and state laws.

We continue to refine our UAS operations for safety, efficacy and efficiency, while using UAS missions to improve our ability to protect public health.

Additional UAS Resources

Data Management System

The District relies on scientific data about mosquito abundance, field inspections and treatments to plan and execute preventative and responsive mosquito control operations. Since 2012, our priority has been to integrate a data management system that allows field and laboratory staff to input and receive information that assists in operational decision-making. In 2020, we upgraded our data management system to the newest version of MapVision.

Automatic Counting Adult Mosquito Traps

In 2018, the District evaluated BG-Counter automatic counting mosquito traps. This innovative device counts mosquitoes as they enter the trap and transmits mosquito counts in 15-minute intervals. This shows us when mosquitoes are most active and helps us find useful patterns to plan mosquito control treatments. The District currently has eight BG-Counters and uses them to monitor seasonality of mosquitoes, efficacy of some mosquito adulticide treatments, capture large amounts of mosquitoes needed for insecticide evaluation and establish a multi-year data set to be used for future applied research.

3D Printer

The mosquito and vector control industry has a long history of creating customized equipment and instruments to fit specific needs. 3D printing allows us to continue this tradition by creating custom parts and devices that are not available or to fabricate alternatives to items that are difficult or cost prohibitive.