Aerial drones have been used to do battle with terrorists since the early days of the War on Terror. Now the state of Florida is going to test drones to help it do battle with an even older enemy than Osama bin Laden, according to IEEE Spectrum.
Even though the enemy is a domestic one, Sen. Rand Paul is unlikely to take to the floor of the United States Senate to filibuster in protest.
Indeed the United States military has been doing battle with this enemy since Army Major Walter Reed discovered that it was a source of yellow fever in 1901.
The enemy is the common mosquito.
Florida is an epicenter for the war against the mosquito. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in any place where there is standing water.
Florida is a swampy state, where the everglades are located, and therefore is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and mosquito related diseases.
Therefore the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is conducting an experiment to use a Maveric aerial drone equipped with a shortwave infrared drone to see if it can pick up mosquito larvae in pools of water around the state.
One the larvae infestations are found, using chemicals or larvae eating fish to eradicate the mosquitoes would be straightforward.
Predator drones were first used in the skies over Afghanistan as a reconnaissance vehicle as a means to ferret out terrorist activity.
Soon someone had the bright idea to equip the Predators with Hellfire missiles and thus a cheap and easy way to execute terrorists that didn’t involved boots on the ground or manned air strikes was born. So was a controversy, but that is beside the fact.
If the camera mounted Maverics are able to locate mosquito larvae infested pools, it would also be inevitable the time and money would be saved by using the same drones to deliver death dealing pesticides to the infestations.
This will no doubt rouse the ire of the environmentalists. But, if the method is effective, it could be used in mosquito infested parts of the world such as Africa and Central America to eradicate the disease carry pests and potentially save millions of lives.