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

Red Deer area businesses recognized at Business of the Year Awards night

“It’s an honour just to be nominated.” The popular words echoed throughout… Continue reading

Child sex offender should get 12 years: Crown prosecutor

Stuart Peter Hunt has pleaded guilty to 10 child sexual exploitation and pornography charges

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Every square tells a story: Edmonton expert is exploring Red Deer’s quilting history

Community members can bring in family heirloom quilts for documentation

Red Deer-area dads going through divorce are invited to Man Up

Support group formed to focus on positive activities, networking

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

Most Read