Firm uses plane to sniff out mosquito-ridden pools

On a dazzlingly clear day last week under the high-noon sun, Bob Franklin and Dennis Vied taxied their Cessna Turbo 206 down the runway at Livermore Municipal Airport, east of Oakland, Calif., and took to the sky in search of a public-health menace.

On a dazzlingly clear day last week under the high-noon sun, Bob Franklin and Dennis Vied taxied their Cessna Turbo 206 down the runway at Livermore Municipal Airport, east of Oakland, Calif., and took to the sky in search of a public-health menace.

They were hunting for mosquitoes – or more specifically, fetid swimming pools that harbor the insects and potentially the West Nile virus they can carry.

As the foreclosure crisis has escalated, so has the number of abandoned pools. A million mosquitoes can breed in a single stagnant pool. Now finding and fixing them has taken on a new level of urgency.

Franklin’s company, Aerial Services of Livermore, is a frontline warrior in locating the backyard breeding sites. Last year, mosquito districts hired it to fly over almost every county in California. It covered about one-third of the state’s urban area and “harvested” 27,000 algae-ridden pools, providing the districts with photographs, maps, street addresses, latitude/longitude and parcel data, including ownership.

“We find lots of mosquito sources at foreclosed homes,” said John Rusmisel, district manager for the Alameda County, Calif. Mosquito Abatement District. “It’s an ongoing and big problem.”

He hired Aerial Surveys to do surveillance over 75 square miles in a region east of Oakland last week at a cost of $8,000 to $10,000. “Google Earth is great, but if you want to know real-time, an airplane is best,” Rusmisel said.

Once problem pools are identified, the mosquito districts can swoop in on the ground, armed with mosquito fish or chemicals to zap the insects. “Obviously, with a foreclosed home, there is no one there,” Rusmisel said. “We have authorization to do an inspection and treatment.”

Foreclosures and the economic downturn have ramped up the mosquito districts’ work. In Contra Costa County, Calif., for instance, of 25,000 homes that were in the foreclosure process in 2008, more than 2,000 had swimming pools, according to the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District.

Even occupied properties can have algae-ridden pools, something that’s happening more as unemployment rises.

Just Posted

Sasktachewan pup, who has extensive burns, makes her way to Red Deer

Donations accepted for Phoenix who has third degree burns on her body

Man dead in ATV collision in central Alberta

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a quad rollover collision that… Continue reading

One airlifted to hospital after avalanche on glacier in Yoho National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Parks Canada says it has responded to an… Continue reading

Hundreds of Canadian troops deployed to flood zones in Quebec and N.B.

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault will visit flood-damaged regions north of… Continue reading

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ reigns over weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “The Curse of La Llorona” (yuh-ROH’-nuh) had only good… Continue reading

New Brunswick premier urges caution as floodwaters continue to rise

FREDERICTON — Rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25… Continue reading

Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack

TORONTO — The survivor guilt settled in moments after he saw all… Continue reading

‘Shocking violation’: Parish prepares to re-bury remains after grave plundered

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Largely untended for decades, the toppled and faded… Continue reading

President attends Easter service following slew of tweets

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is using Easter morning to… Continue reading

Easter Sunday blasts kill at least 207 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds… Continue reading

Soldiers deploying to flood-prone areas as water levels rise in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — About 120 Canadian soldiers will soon be deployed in western… Continue reading

Soldiers deploy across Quebec after flood-caused sinkhole claims woman’s life

MONTREAL — Canadian Armed Forces are deploying in three regions across Quebec,… Continue reading

Most Read