Bio Security and Mosquito Control
Fire Ant and Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Programs
With the detection of Fire Ants in the Brisbane area in 2001, the threat to our environment is very serious if eradication is not successful.
The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Eradication program has been a driving force in McDermott Aviation’s commitment to supplying a reliable, accurate and cost effective aerial application service to all of South East Queensland and Australian families to assist in a lifestyle without this invader. Since the start of the RIFA Eradication, McDermott Aviation have carried out a vast majority of the application area, and in a constant effort to ensure the efficacy of the operation, we continually improve our equipment and treatment techniques.
Our treatment equipment has been extensively modified to ensure reliability for the program and, coupled with the latest GPS systems, allows upload of block boundaries to ensure the correct areas are treated, and of course gives the capability of the download of treatment data to allow buffering of the areas by ground teams that were not suitable for aerial treatment.
The air-blast application equipment utilized on the RIFA eradication program has electronic sensors to monitor the application parameters including; quantity of product on-board, application ON, and Application Doors Jammed. With these sensors, it ensures the pilot is totally aware of the equipments operation at all time. With the very low rates of application – as low as 1.6kg per HA, the sensors are critical, as the small rates aren’t easily monitored visually.
The Department of Primary Industries has contracted McDermott Aviation to carry out it’s entire aerial Fire Ant eradication control program which involves vast areas being aerially surveyed using world-first fire ant detection remote sensing technology in and around the Brisbane City residential area.
The remote sensing technology sensors, which are mounted underneath our helicopter, detects reflected energy in three (3) distinct frequency bands; visible, near-infrared and thermal. When a fire ant mound is detected, it exposes a ‘signature’ in the imagery due to the thermal characteristics in the way they reflect near-infrared energy.
Our company was the only operator with expertise to:
- Design and manufacture bait application equipment to client requirements
- Meet the ISO quality standards
- Operate aircraft in such heavily populated residential areas
- Operate in major controlled airspace
- Operate in amongst environmentally sensitive areas e.g. National Parks/Marine Parks.
Due to the success of the Fire ant contract, McDermott Aviation was chosen by Christmas Islands Parks North Australia to develop and conduct Aerial Application programs for the control/eradication of the ‘Crazy-ant’, which was having devastating effect on the crab and wild life population on Christmas Island.
With the risk of Mosquito-borne diseases seemly more widespread, it has become necessary to control the Mosquito larvae to reduce the severity and try to mitigate excessive occurrence of mosquito borne disease.
McDermott Aviation has been carrying out aerial application of mosquito larva since 1984. We are the longest established mosquito control aerial applicators, with nearly 30 years experience and a well proven track record for reliability, efficiency and the ability to get the job done. During this time, we have helped with the establishment of mosquito control programs for various local authorities from Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, through to Hervey Bay.
McDermott Aviation assisted in the development and improved the aerial application of sand based larvacide and insect growth regulators to enable very low, accurate application rates. We have been instrumental in testing and proving new formulations and techniques for aerial application of new mosquito control agents, particularly Ultra Low Volume application of liquid larvacide and B.T.I.’s, which is a protein produced in a fermentation process by the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, and an insect growth regulator called “Methoprene”. For best results, treatment for mosquito larvae is performed while the larvae is still concentrated in their breeding site and before they emerge and disperse as adults looking for blood.
The sand granules used are applied from a hopper carried under the helicopter, at a rate of 3 kg of sand per hectare, or Bti in water through booms, applied at a total volume of 3 litres per hectare, and by using a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) in the helicopter, accurate tracking over the salt marsh can be achieved.
McDermott Aviation has ongoing ‘long term’ contracts with many government bodies/authorities, including: Gold Coast City Council, Brisbane City Council, Redland Bay City Council, Sunshine Coast City Council, Hervey Bay City Council, QLD Department of Primary Industries, and numerous other government departments locally and abroad.
The company’s helicopter fleet is specifically set up for aerial application, including DGPS, smoke generating units and application monitoring equipment. We are usually able to provide 2 or more helicopters to a worksite where required.
McDermott Aviation support all Fire Ant and Mosquito Control operations with our large range of support vehicles that are purpose built to refuel and load aircraft onsite efficiently and safely. All pilots and loadmaster have successfully completed the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia training to ensure operations are carried out to the highest standards.
What Aircraft do you need?
AS355 Twin Squirrel