Sterile insect technique (SIT) pest control works by rearing and releasing sterile male insects of the same species as the target pest. The sterile males mate with the wild females resulting in fewer fertile eggs for the next generation. This powerful method is proven to prevent, reduce or even eliminate a target species from the treated area.
SIT also has a very environmentally friendly profile. It is non-toxic and has no off-target effects. BigSIS insect control solutions are not genetically modified (GM), so they have a rapid development pathway, straight forward regulatory processes and are compatible with organic agriculture.
Using two proprietary technologies, underpinned by contemporary artificial intelligence and automation capabilities, BigSIS has reinvented sterile insect production to overcome the limitations of traditional SIT and make this approach practical and cost-effective for a very broad range of insect pests.
Codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is the principal pest of the 6.3m hectares of apples and pears grown worldwide. Currently only about 5,000 hectares are treated by SIT due to its relatively high cost.
The BigSIS codling moth solution saves diet with its rearing system, enables sex sorting and improves the fitness of sterile males. This creates a superior and cost competitive alternative to chemical insecticides.
Around $5bn is spent globally to control this mosquito, which is the main vector of dengue, Zika and other viruses. Dengue alone infects about 96 million people per year causing $39bn total economic burden.
The BigSIS Aedes aegypti solution halves unit costs using its rearing system and produces fitter sterile males so fewer are needed. With low regulatory barriers, this is a market-beating control solution.
Spotted wing Drosophila (SWD)
SWD (Drosophila suzukii) is a very challenging invasive pest of high value soft fruit including strawberries and cherries. The progressive ripening of these crops makes it difficult to treat with chemicals.
BigSIS automated sexing opens up SIT to this and many other fruit fly pests.
Over 40 different Anopheles species are responsible for transmitting human malaria. They caused 450,000 deaths in 2017 despite malaria prevention spend of $3.1bn.
The innovative BigSIS system is uniquely able to sex sort Anopheles pupae. Moreover, it adapts readily to locally captured mosquitoes so it can control multiple Anopheles species, including sibling species. Now at last the power of SIT can be brought to bear on malaria control and save lives.
The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is an invasive pest attacking corn, soya, cotton and other key crops, causing billions of dollars of damage in the Americas and Africa. It is proving very difficult to control with existing tools, particularly due to increasing resistance to chemical insecticides and Bt proteins in GM crops.
The BigSIS rearing solution avoids cannibalism, enables sex sorting and boosts the fitness of sterilised males. This leads to a practical and affordable control solution.