Control of the Chagas disease vector, Triatoma infestans, relies on the application of pyrethroid insecticides, especially deltamethrin. We performed laboratory studies to determine whether a T. infestans nymph that comes into contact with a deltamethrin-treated surface horizontally transfers the insecticide to subsequent triatomines. We found that a triatomine that walks on a deltamethrin-treated surface for a short period of time has the ability to transport the insecticide in concentrations sufficient to kill other triatomines with which it comes into contact. The effect was limited to high-density environments, and mortality as a result of secondary exposure was greater among second-instar nymphs compared with fifth-instar nymphs. Our results suggest that deltamethrin could be killing triatomines through both direct and indirect contact, although it remains unclear whether the phenomenon occurs in natural conditions.
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Vol. 48 • No. 4