Wat we will do
What we will do
During the pilot project on Zanzibar in Tanzania we will use a drone to fly over irrigated rice fields to spray a biological insecticide. Prior to, during, and after the spraying exercise we will closely monitor the density of mosquito larvae in a set number of fields sprayed with water only (control fields) or Total Impact (Treatment fields). Our goal is to monitor the mosquito population over time in order to assess the potential contribution of the approach in malaria control.
We intend to publish the results of the pilot trial in Tanzania in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in 2020 and will also disseminate the results through social media channels to increase uptake of the approach.
At the source
Irrigated rice fields provide ideal breeding sites for malaria mosquitoes, sometimes producing thousands of mosquitoes per hectare. A female malaria mosquito can live 30-40 days and produce 50-200 eggs during her lifetime. These eggs turn into larvae and later pupae and after 7-14 days (depending on the temperature of the water) become adult mosquitoes.
We will spray fields with a biological control product called Aquatain AMF. AMF consists of a monomolecular film (PDMS). This results in a reduction of the water surface tension making the mosquitoes drown or unable to breathe.
Aquatain AMF of the Australian company Aquatain is a product that is allowed for use in drinking water and is completely harmless to non-target organisms and does not affect the growth of rice. It is already used in mosquito control in many countries.
The way to use Total Impact over large areas? Drones!
Drones form the perfect solution for two problems with larval control: The difficulties of treating large tracts of land on foot and the high costs of flying helicopters or spray aircraft (generally $ 1000/hour). Efficient in use and affordable: The new options provided by drones.
Thanks to our partner DJI it will be possible to execute this project in Tanzania.
The Agras MG-1S drone van DJI is relatively cheap and can be operated by locally trained staff. It can spray 4-6 thousand square meters within 10 minutes when spraying Total Impact. This is 40-60 times faster than spraying on foot.
Large-scale deployment of drones can boost the prevention of malaria over large areas and may be expanded to include swampy areas, flood plains, and other water bodies. In combination with existing vector control tools (nets and indoor spraying) we hope to contribute to the elimination of malaria in Africa!