The Japanese pest control company Duskin Co. has come up with a new way to safely remove wasp nests. The company developed a drone with a kind of vacuum cleaner on board, which allows the insects to be sucked out of their nest in a safe way. After that, the nests are much easier to remove by pest control agents.

Wasp pests

Every year, between ten and twenty people die in Japan as a result of wasp stings. Often these are the result of attempts to clear a nest, which causes the wasps to exhibit extra aggressive behavior. In Hygo Prefecture alone, just west of Kyoto, thousands of nests have to be cleared every year because of the nuisance caused by the wasp pests.

The wasp nests are sometimes so big, or the nests are located so high, that even professional pest repellers are sometimes powerless and have to refuse a job because of the risks, so Duskin came up with the idea of mounting a vacuum cleaner on a drone. Previously, the company also developed a ground robot to suck away cockroaches with.

Cable Drone

The basis of the system is a cable drone with a diameter of about 80 cm. A powerful but compact vacuum cleaner is mounted at the top, which is supplied the required power from the ground. The contents of a nest can be sucked out by means of a suction nozzle on an extension. A rotating head ensures that the suction nozzle can also enter the nest.

According to Yusuke Saito, responsible for Duskin’s drone program, the wasps themselves lend a hand to their destruction: “As soon as wasps perceive a danger, they secrete pheromones and engage the intruder enemy in a group. Because they apply the pheromones to the drone, they will swarm around the device so that they can be eliminated even more effectively.”

Stable drone

The drone was developed by Ishikawa Energy Research. According to sales manager Kazuki Hayashi, this system is distinguished by the very stable positioning required to fly close to a nest. The company is currently working on a new model whose suction nozzle can be operated separately from the drone.

Yusuke Saito expects an increasing demand for the vacuuming drone: “The number of foreign species of wasps, which nest in higher places, is expanding in Japan. The use of drones will become more important in the future.”

(source: Mainichi — photos: Shohei Miyamoto)