The Bannock County Mosquito Abatement District helps fight the mosquito population in the area. It also helps excite kids for drone-related careers.
For Stephen Harker flying a drone isn't just fun, it's also work. He says, "I'd always grown up with hobbyist stuff. So, flying airplanes and little tiny drones but I never imagined I'd be doing it with a big application drone like this, and it's really just a dream job for me."
Harker is the drone pilot for the Bannock County Mosquito Abatement District. Which according to the district's director David Herter plays an important role in keeping the population healthy. He explains, "We do speciation. We actually trap mosquitoes, we collect larva in the water so that we know what types of mosquitoes there are because they're actually 3,000 in the world. We have roughly 13 of them here in Bannock County."
Of those 13 types in the region a few may potentially carry West Nile virus. So, Harker uses his drone to apply pesticide in hard-to-reach terrain (like steep hillsides and rural water sources) where those mosquitoes are often found.
The drone is much larger than what the average person may expect. It has to be to get its job done. That job includes dropping pellets from a bucket into water sources where mosquito larva live.
However, recently the drone is serving another purpose. The abatement district is pairing up with a local club to get kids excited about drones.
Dave Leffler is president of the Eastern Idaho Aeromodelers which is teaming up with the district to show kids how fun flying drones can be. He says, "As the technology increases with the drone systems, there's a lot more job openings, or potential careers out there for them."
Drone-related technology is what Harker studied at Idaho State University and as he starts his career, he wants kids who are interested in flying drones to know: "Follow your passion. Always do what you love. I didn't think coming out of the program that I'd get a job so fast. And yet, now I'll be going down to Florida working for Leading Edge and they're the people who make the drone."
If you live in Bannock County and have a mosquito problem, David Herter says feel free to reach out with any questions at the mosquito abatement district. The office number is (208) 236-7409.
For more information on the mosquito abatement district, please use the link to our other story: https://www.kpvi.com/news/local_news/fighting-mosquitoes-with-drones/article_cbe8c0ac-9de6-11e9-9fb1-ffa6fa8a24a4.html