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
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The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse, 1894) is an invasive species responsible for the transmission of arboviruses such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya. The rapid expansion of this species globally is the result of a lack of effective control methods. In this context, the sterile insect technique (SIT) is an emerging tool for controlling mosquito populations. The Agriculture Department of the Valencian Region (Spain) is promoting a pilot project to evaluate the efficacy of the sterile insect technique as part of an integrated vector management program against Ae. albopictus. From 2018 to 2020, sterile male releases were carried out in two pilot sites, releasing more than 15 million sterile males over 80 ha. The present work describes the laboratory studies carried out to evaluate the performance of irradiated males to assess the feasibility of the SIT before release in the field, as well as the production and quality control parameters obtained in rearing activities. The obtained values in terms of production and quality control and the proposed rearing methodology can be useful for designing a medium-scale mosquito-rearing pipeline.