For the production of several hundred thousands of Aedes albopictus sterile males for the implementation of a Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) program, no costly mass-rearing equipment is needed during the initial phases, as optimized rearing at laboratory scale can be sufficient for the first steps. The aim of this study was to maximize the egg production by optimizing adult rearing methods for Ae. albopictus. The effect of parameters such as male/female ratio, density of adults, membrane type for blood feeding, quantity of blood delivered, continuous or discontinuous blood feeding, and surface of substrates for egg laying on overall egg production was tested to find optimized conditions. Based on the number of eggs produced per cage in response to the parameters tested, the optimum cage set-up was seen to be 1500 adults in a 30 × 30 × 30 cm cage with a male/female sex ratio of 1:3, fed by fresh bovine blood for periods of 30 min using a cellulose membrane covering a 10 cm stainless steel plate heated by a Hemotek device, and the provision of five oviposition cups to collect eggs. With this set-up, production per cage can reach a maximum of 35,000 eggs per week.
Keywords: insect production; male mosquito; mosquito facility; sterile insect technique.