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Waterproof, low-cost, long-battery-life sound trap for surveillance of male Aedes aegypti for rear-and-release mosquito control programmes

Barukh B. Rohde, Kyran M. Staunton, Nicholas C. Zeak, Nigel Beebe, Nigel Snoad, Artiom Bondarenco, Catherine Liddington, Jason A. Anderson, Wei Xiang, Richard W. Mankin, Scott A. Ritchie
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 417
Aedes aegypti, Wolbachia, acoustics, cages, cost effectiveness, cytoplasmic incompatibility, females, habituation, insect traps, insects, male sterility, males, monitoring, mosquito control, new combination, surveys, Queensland
BACKGROUND: Sterile male rear-and-release programmes are of growing interest for controlling Aedes aegypti, including use an “incompatible insect technique” (IIT) to suppress transmission of dengue, Zika, and other viruses. Under IIT, males infected with Wolbachia are released into the suppression area to induce cytoplasmic incompatibility in uninfected populations. These and similar mosquito-release programmes require cost-effective field surveys of both sexes to optimize the locations, timing, and quantity of releases. Unfortunately, traps that sample male Ae. aegypti effectively are expensive and usually require mains power. Recently, an electronic lure was developed that attracts males using a 484 Hz sinusoidal tone mimicking the female wingbeat frequencies, broadcast in a 120 s on/off cycle. When deployed in commercially available gravid Aedes traps (GATs), the new combination, sound-GAT (SGAT), captures both males and females effectively. Given its success, there is interest in optimizing SGAT to reduce cost and power usage while maximizing catch rates. METHODS: Options considered in this study included use of a smaller, lower-power microcontroller (Tiny) with either the original or a lower-cost speaker (lcS). A 30 s on/off cycle was tested in addition to the original 120 s cycle to minimize the potential that the longer cycle induced habituation. The original SGAT was compared against other traps incorporating the Tiny-based lures for mosquito capture in a large semi-field cage. The catch rates in waterproofed versions of this trap were then compared with catch rates in standard [BG-Sentinel 2 (BGS 2); Biogents AG, Regensburg, Germany] traps during an IIT field study in the Innisfail region of Queensland, Australia in 2017. RESULTS: The system with a low-power microcontroller and low-cost speaker playing a 30 s tone (Tiny-lcS-30s) caught the highest proportion of males. The mean proportions of males caught in a semi-field cage were not significantly different among the original design and the four low-power, low-cost versions of the SGAT. During the IIT field study, the waterproofed version of the highest-rated, Tiny-lcS-30s SGAT captured male Ae. aegypti at similar rates as co-located BGS-2 traps. CONCLUSIONS: Power- and cost-optimized, waterproofed versions of male Ae. aegypti acoustic lures in GATs are now available for field use in areas with sterile male mosquito rear-and-release programmes.