Skip to main content

Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)

Innovative Approaches to Combatting Invasive Mosquitoes 

Invasive mosquitoes, which are permanently established throughout California are more than a nuisance and can pose a huge public health threat. These mosquitoes are efficient vectors of debilitating diseases such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya that kill thousands of people each year throughout the world. Therefore, finding and implementing innovative methods of controlling these mosquito populations and limiting their abundance is very important.  

A novel approach that has been recently used by mosquito control districts in California in the fight against invasive mosquitoes is the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).  As part of an integrated vector management program to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne viruses, the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is an environmentally-friendly insect pest control method involving sterilization of a target pest, followed by the systematic, localized area-wide release of sterile males where they mate with wild females. The SIT technique results in no offspring and a declining pest population, reducing the presence of the specific breed of virus-spreading mosquitoes.