Accumulations of dormant eggs in container habitats allow Aedes aegypti populations to survive harsh environmental conditions and may frustrate control interventions directed at larval and adult life stages. While sodium hypochlorite solutions (NaOCl) have long been recognized as ovicides for use against dengue vectors, the susceptibility of eggs to spray applications has not been robustly evaluated on substrate materials representative of the most frequently utilized artificial container habitats. Experiments were performed under controlled and natural conditions by applying dilutions of household bleach (52.5 ppt NaOCl) as a spray to eggs on plastic, rubber, and concrete surfaces, with and without a smectite clay thickener. Laboratory assays identified the minimum NaOCl concentrations required to eliminate eggs on plastic (10 ppt), rubber (20 ppt) and concrete (20 ppt) surfaces. Addition of smectite clay reduced the minimum effective concentration to 10 ppt NaOCl for all 3 substrates. A minimum exposure period of 24 h was required to completely eliminate egg viability on concrete surfaces, even at the highest NaOCl concentration (52.5 ppt). Field experiments verified that spray application of a 1∶3 dilution of household bleach mixed with smectite clay can reduce egg hatching by ≥ 99% in shaded and sun-exposed plastic containers. Similarly, 4∶1 dilution of household bleach (with or without smectite clay) eliminated ≥ 98% of eggs from concrete surfaces in outdoor, water-filled drums. In this study, we propose a practical, effective and safe strategy for using household bleach to eliminate Ae. aegypti eggs in a range of artificial container habitats.
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