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Toward Implementation of Mosquito Sterile Insect Technique: The Effect of Storage Conditions on Survival of Male Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) During Transport

  • Author(s): Chung, HN
  • Rodriguez, SD
  • Gonzales, KK
  • Vulcan, J
  • Cordova, JJ
  • Mitra, S
  • Adams, CG
  • Moses-Gonzales, N
  • Tam, N
  • Cluck, JW
  • Attardo, GM
  • Hansen, IA
  • et al.
Abstract

Sterile insect technique (SIT) is a promising, environmentally friendly alternative to the use of pesticides for insect pest control. However, implementing SIT with Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) mosquitoes presents unique challenges. For example, during transport from the rearing facility to the release site and during the actual release in the field, damage to male mosquitoes should be minimized to preserve their reproductive competitiveness. The short flight range of male Ae. aegypti requires elaborate release strategies such as release via Unmanned Aircraft Systems, more commonly referred to as drones. Two key parameters during transport and release are storage temperature and compaction rate. We performed a set of laboratory experiments to identify the optimal temperatures and compaction rates for storage and transport of male Ae. aegypti. We then conducted shipping experiments to test our laboratory-derived results in a 'real-life' setting. The laboratory results indicate that male Ae. aegypti can survive at a broad range of storage temperatures ranging from 7 to 28°C, but storage time should not exceed 24 h. Male survival was high at all compaction rates we tested with a low at 40 males/cm3. Interestingly, results from our 'real-life' shipping experiment showed that high compaction rates were beneficial to survival. This study advances key understudied aspects of the practicalities of moving lab-reared insects into the field and lies the foundation for further studies on the effect of transport conditions on male reproductive fitness.

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