Drones are joining the fight against the emerald ash borer

July 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Emerald Ash Borers may be small insects, but they can do big damage to trees. They’re highly destructive — and if they infect an ash tree, the tree will die unless it’s chemically treated. Some researchers in Colorado — are using drones, to try to track.

Drones are taking flight and joining the fight against the emerald ash borer in Colorado.

The EAB is tiny, but the insect is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees across 27 states.

“If you catch trees in early stages of infestation you can often save that tree,” said Dan Staley.

He’s an urban forester leading an effort to save ash trees in Colorado. He heads up Arbor Drone LLC.

“We’re taking techniques that are used in precision agriculture right now and adapting them to the urban forest,” he said.

Staley is partnering with researchers from Colorado College and a Colorado Springs-based startup called Spectrabotics to collect and study data using drones. On Thursday, the group launched drones equipped with multispectral cameras over a park in Boulder. The cameras capture light in both the visible and infrared spectrum.

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