Mass- and laboratory-rearing of insects is a key component of research projects and several integrated pest management strategies; vector control via sterile insect techniques (SIT) has been and continues to be an effective means of pest and disease control (e.g. Malaria, Dengue etc.). At Vienna Scientific Instruments we work together with entomologists, especially partners in Seibersdorf (Austria), to develop instruments and tools such as insect rearing cages, larval rearing tray and rack systems and adapted automatic feeding systems for those rack and tray systems, brushing systems to remove eggs from oviposition paper strips, and sized-based sex separators. We are currently also developing devices allowing for a controlled (and automated) portioning and release.
In research, the insect pests must be investigated using high numbers of individuals to evaluate all potential control methods. In SIT, large numbers of insects have to be reared and released repeatedly. The requirement for efficient mosquito mass rearing / insect mass rearing technology has been one of the major obstacles preventing the large scale application of the Sterile Insect Technique against mosquitoes and other insects. Furthermore, an increased interest in using insects as alternative, sustainable source of protein for feed and food can be noticed and requires the development of cost efficient mosquito rearing / insect rearing solutions. Insects have highly varied habits and habitats. Their size ranges from a millimetre to over a hand span long and their food and feeding habits are equally variable. Insects are known to occur in subzero temperatures to the inhospitable hot springs. Owing to such varied preferences, insects’ rearing requires specific techniques for different species.