Sterile Insect Technique in an Integrated Vector Management Program against Tiger Mosquito Aedes albopictus in the Valencia Region (Spain): Operating Procedures and Quality Control Parameters

C. Tur, D. Almenar, S. Benlloch-Navarro, R. Argilés-Herrero, M. Zacarés, V. Dalmau and I. Pla,  Insects,  12. 2021.

Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are the main vectors of arboviral diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. About a third of the world population is currently at risk of contracting Aedes-borne epidemics. In recent years, A. albopictus has drastically increased its distribution in many countries. In the absence of efficient mosquito vector control methods, the sterile insect technique (SIT) is presented as a very promising and environment-friendly control tool. The Agriculture Department of the Valencian Region is promoting an ongoing pilot project to evaluate the efficacy of an integrated vector management program (IVM) based on the use of the SIT as the main method of control. The laboratory studies for evaluating the entomological efficacy of SIT through the phased conditional testing process recommended by World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency (WHO-IAEA) are addressed. This study describes the routine operating procedures and quality control parameters for the medium-scale rearing of sterile male A. albopictus. More than 15 million sterile males have been produced and released in an area of 80 ha between 2018 and 2020. Of the initial L1 larvae, we recovered 17.2% of male pupae after sex sorting to be sterilized and released on the field, while the rest of the pupae remained available to maintain the rearing colony. The residual percentage of females after sex sorting was on average 0.17%. The obtained values in terms of production and quality control as well as the proposed rearing methodology can be useful for designing a medium-scale mosquito-rearing pipeline.

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