Pest Management In Disguise

Mosquito Bite  Photo:  jneal

Mosquito Bite Photo: jneal

Since the advent of effective organic insecticides, one common method for control of mosquitoes and other insect vectors of diseases has been treatment of structures. The World Health Organization still maintains active programs of treating residences with insecticides in areas with high prevalence of malaria. The US military stations large numbers of personnel around the globe, frequently in areas that have insect vectors of disease such as sand flies and mosquitoes that transmit Leishmaniasis and a number of other tropical diseases.

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?

Camouflage Netting  Photo: opsgear.com

Camouflage Netting Photo: opsgear.com

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
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2987/11-6134.1

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Health, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Pest Management In Disguise

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