September 18, 2017 1:38 pm
Updated: September 18, 2017 1:47 pm

City eyes drone to target mosquito breeding grounds around Winnipeg

A report to the city's Innovation committee recommends buying a drone to help find new mosquito breeding grounds.

The Canadian Press/AP/Felipe Dana, File

A high tech solution to finding mosquitoes could soon be added to the city’s bug fighting arsenal.

A report to the city’s Innovation committee recommends buying a drone to help find new mosquito breeding grounds.

The city said a drone would be able to locate large standing water locations easier than having city crews walk the 185,000 hectares of land in Winnipeg and the property 10 kilometres surrounding the city.

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The report said the last time the city logged the standing water sites was in 2003 and 12 seasonal workers had to be hired for the task. It said it has to be done in the wet season to identify drainage issues.

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“This task should be conducted every 3-5 years after a significant rain has occurred,” the report said. “This task is not usually possible as all staff are focusing their efforts on larviciding existing sites in order to reduce the emergence of adult mosquitoes.”

The pitch for the drone is it is can send back footage in real-time, can fly over difficult to reach terrain and even spot mosquito larvae from 80 feet above the ground.

Once the water is spotted the city would be able to have one of the four larviciding helicopters target the area.

According to the report the city’s Insect Control Branch has been in talks with Transport Canada and has been told the drone would be allowed to be used for this purpose. The city would need to apply for a low flight waiver annually and have a certified operator use the drone.

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The city’s bug department said 2017 has been one of the best seasons ever, with relatively few mosquitoes.

The Innovation committee will vote on the plan Friday.

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