Mosquito Handling, Transport, Release and Male Trapping Methods

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

23 March 2015

Start Date

3 July 2015

Expected End Date

31 December 2020

Completed Date

20 October 2021

Participating Countries

Burkina Faso
South Africa
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America


The burden of mosquito transmitted diseases remains enormous; in fact, the incidence of dengue and other diseases has been growing dramatically around the world in recent decades while vector control effectiveness has significantly decreased as mosquitoes develop insecticide resistance. The focus of this CRP is to develop handling, transport and release methods for several million adult mosquitoes, and to assess new methods developed within the framework of this CRP in pilot sites to ensure the quality and the sexual capacity of the released sterile males. The development and evaluation of affordable and efficient trapping methods for male mosquitoes are of high importance for the assessment and success of suppression programmes. So far, mosquito traps have been developed mostly for females, which are the vectors of the pathogens.


The objective of this CRP is to provide the necessary technical advances in the release and subsequent monitoring of male mosquitoes to enable the application of the sterile insect technique against mosquitoes for vector population to reduce the disease burden of affected Member States.

Specific objectives

To explore different monitoring systems for surveillance of the target population of an AW-IPM programme with an SIT component, and to follow the performance of released males and the efficacy of population suppression.

To encourage and attract participants to the CRP in the fields of insect handling, cooling and release technologies, and with experience of insect population monitoring.

To explore approaches to releasing sterile male mosquitoes in a controlled manner over a large area, with the ability to target specific areas, ensuring low mortality and high quality in released insects.

To explore approaches to perform the necessary handling and transport of irradiated, sex-separated male mosquitoes to the site of release, with minimal impact on survival and quality of released insects.

To assess the impact of different conditions during handling and transport of adults:

To assess the impact of different conditions during handling of pupae:

To develop a male trapping method

To develop a methodology for marking large number of sterile mosquitoes for operational programmes.

To develop a release device suitable for air and ground releases


The successful implementation of this CRP resulted into the following: a) Significant progress was achieved on mosquito marking techniques and a novel large-scale marking technique using Rhodamine-B was developed and assessed for Ae. aegypti, Ae. albopictus and Ae. polynesiensis. b) Protocols for handling, shipping, and transporting of sterile males of Ae. aegypti, Ae. albopictus and Ae. polynesiensis were developed and evaluated in respect to its effect on male’s quality. c) Methods for ground release and aerial release of sterile male mosquitoes with drones were developed. (d) Outstanding progress were also made on male mosquito monitoring systems. In this regard, a novel and effective trapping method based on sound lures was developed and validated targeting Aedes species. Eventually, these improvements will benefit mosquito SIT pilot and operational projects.


Mass-rearing and release of high-quality insects is at the core of agency programs in SIT and other approaches to biological control. In recent years, there is a high interest by Member States and other international organization such as WHO to develop the SIT package for human disease transmitting mosquitoes. In parallel with the implementation of this CRP, several SIT pilot projects have achieved successful control of mosquitoes such as those in Guangzhou (China), Havana (Cuba) and Valencia (Spain). The advances made in this CRP will allow these pilot projects to be upscaled to large operational programmes.

The objectives of the CRP were achieved: (a) we developed and assessed new methods to mark sterile males mosquitoes, one of them capable or marking sterile sperm that can be retrieved and identified in mated females (b) we assessed the optimal environmental and compaction conditions and for chilling, handling and transporting sterile males of Ae. aegypti, Ae. albopictus and Ae. polynesiensis; (c) we developed methods for ground release and aerial release of sterile male mosquitoes with drones, (d) we developed sound lures for inexpensive passive traps for Aedes sterile males and analysed several passive traps for Anopheles arabiensis and Anopheles gambiae s.l. An important next step will be to transfer these advances to more mosquito SIT pilot and operational projects

CRP Publications


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