Bifenthrin, a pyrethroid insecticide already used in agriculture was evaluated in laboratory conditions against susceptible and pyrethroid resistant mosquitoes, as a potential insecticide for treatment of mosquito nets. Two laboratory strains of Anopheles gambiae s.s. Giles, the major malaria vector in Africa, and two of Culex quinquefasciatus Say, a major pest mosquito in urban areas, were used. Compared with other pyrethroids such as permethrin and deltamethrin, the intrinsic toxicity of bifenthrin, measured by topical application with susceptible strains, was intermediate. By forced tarsal contact on filter papers (cylinder tests) or on netting materials (cone tests), bifenthrin was found slightly more effective against A. gambiae than against C. quinquefasciatus, in terms of mortality and knock-down effect. With free flying mosquitoes (tunnel tests), bifenthrin was very efficient in killing mosquitoes and inhibiting blood feeding. Against the two pyrethroid resistant strains, bifenthrin was relatively efficient against A. gambiae but the impact of resistance was greater with C. quinquefasciatus. In tunnel tests, blood feeding remained almost entirely inhibited with the two species despite resistance. The high mortality of susceptible mosquitoes and excellent blood feeding inhibition of susceptible and resistant strains makes bifenthrin a good candidate for treatment of netting materials, particularly in areas where C. quinquefasciatus, the main nuisance in urban areas, is resistant to pyrethroids. The slower knock-down and lower irritant effect also makes this insecticide especially attractive when a mass killing effect on mosquito populations is expected.
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