Planes have long been used to drop pesticides and herbicides quickly and evenly over cropland, but the newest drone to drift quietly over us has something a little different waiting in its cargo-hold: thousands and thousands of sterilized moths.
The pink bollwarm is a cotton pest that doesn’t show up often, but hits hard when it does. The newest solution the USDA is testing out? A series of remote agricultural control drones that can be speedily dispatched to any effected fields with the quickness.
But those moths aren’t pink bollworm predators—far from it. They are also pink bollworms who have been sterilized. This sudden addition keeps many new pink bollworms from appearing and—with a lifecycle that is just about two weeks—could stop an infestation fairly quick.