From the Lab to the Field: Long-Distance Transport of Sterile Aedes Mosquitoes

H. Maïga, M. T. Bakhoum, W. Mamai, G. Diouf, N. S. Bimbilé Somda, T. Wallner, C. Martina, S. S. Kotla, O. B. Masso, H. Yamada, B. B. D. Sow, A. G. Fall and J. Bouyer,  Insects,  14. 2023.


Pilot programs of the sterile insect technique (SIT) against Aedes aegypti may rely on importing significant and consistent numbers of high-quality sterile males from a distant mass rearing factory. As such, long-distance mass transport of sterile males may contribute to meet this requirement if their survival and quality are not compromised. This study therefore aimed to develop and assess a novel method for long-distance shipments of sterile male mosquitoes from the laboratory to the field. Different types of mosquito compaction boxes in addition to a simulation of the transport of marked and unmarked sterile males were assessed in terms of survival rates/recovery rates, flight ability and morphological damage to the mosquitoes. The novel mass transport protocol allowed long-distance shipments of sterile male mosquitoes for up to four days with a nonsignificant impact on survival (>90% for 48 h of transport and between 50 and 70% for 96 h depending on the type of mosquito compaction box), flight ability, and damage. In addition, a one-day recovery period for transported mosquitoes post-transport increased the escaping ability of sterile males by more than 20%. This novel system for the long-distance mass transport of mosquitoes may therefore be used to ship sterile males worldwide for journeys of two to four days. This study demonstrated that the protocol can be used for the standard mass transport of marked or unmarked chilled Aedes mosquitoes required for the SIT or other related genetic control programs.

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