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Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) field trial targeting the suppression of Aedes albopictus in Greece.

The sterile insect technique (SIT) involves releasing large numbers of sterile males to outcompete wild males in mating with females, leading to a decline in pest populations. In the current study, we conducted a suppression trial in Greece against the invasive dengue vector mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse) through the weekly release of sterile males for 22 weeks from June to September 2019. Our approach included the long-distance transport of sterile mosquitoes, and their release at a density of 2,547 ± 159 sterile males per hectare per week as part of an area-wide integrated pest management strategy (AW-IPM). The repeated releases of sterile males resulted in a gradual reduction in egg density, reaching 78% from mid-June to early September. This reduction remained between 70% and 78% for four weeks after the end of the releases. Additionally, in the SIT intervention area, the ovitrap index, representing the percentage of traps containing eggs, remained lower throughout the trial than in the control area. This trial represents a significant advance in the field of mosquito control, as it explores the viability and efficacy of producing and transporting sterile males from a distant facility to the release area. Our results provide valuable insights for future SIT programmes targeting Ae. Albopictus, and the methodology we employed can serve as a starting point for developing more refined and effective release protocols, including the transportation of sterile males over long distances from production units to intervention areas.

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