In desert areas, many military outposts use camouflage nets to disguise buildings and equipment from prying eyes. The plastic nets are ubiquitous. Plastic can be impregnated with insecticide, a technique commonly used for anti-malarial bed nets. Can camouflage be impregnated with insecticide to reduce exposure to disease?Britch and colleagues* tested the concept and found that bifenthrin impregnated netting could reduce populations of mosquitoes by 40% or more, a level that could substantially reduce disease transmission. In addition to population reduction, mosquitoes that contact pyrethroid insecticides can exhibit behavioral changes that reduce ability to locate hosts and feed. If used wisely, this technique could be effective and save lives. However, any technology that exposes insect populations to insecticide for sustained periods risks selecting the insect populations for resistance to the insecticide. Insect control should be deployed judiciously with prevention of resistance in mind.
*Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 27(3):272-279. 2011