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      A Review of Studies Evaluating Insecticide Barrier Treatments for Mosquito Control From 1944 to 2018

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          Background and Purpose:

          Barrier insecticide treatments have a long history in mosquito control programs but have been used more frequently in the United States in recent years for control of invasive “backyard” species (eg, Aedes albopictus) and increases in incidence of vector-borne diseases (eg, Zika).


          We reviewed the published literature for studies investigating barrier treatments for mosquito control during the last 74 years (1944-2018). We searched databases such as PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar to retrieve worldwide literature on barrier treatments.


          Forty-four studies that evaluated 20 active ingredients (AIs) and 21 formulated products against multiple mosquito species are included. Insecticides investigated for efficacy included organochlorines (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane [DDT], β-hexachlorocyclohexane [BHC]), organophosphates (malathion), and pyrethroids (bifenthrin, deltamethrin, permethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin) as AIs. Study design varied with multiple methods used to evaluate effectiveness of barrier treatments. Barrier treatments were effective at lowering mosquito populations although there was variation between studies and for different mosquito species. Factors other than AI, such as exposure to rainfall and application equipment used, also influenced control efficacy.


          Many of the basic questions on the effectiveness of barrier insecticide applications have been answered, but several important details still must be investigated to improve precision and impact on vector-borne pathogen transmission. Recommendations are made to assist future evaluations of barrier treatments for mosquito control and to limit the potential development of insecticide resistance.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Properties and applications of pyrethroids.

           Tom Elliott (1976)
          Improved understanding of the factors determining the insecticidal activity, the mammalian toxicity, and the stability in air and light of natural and synthetic pyrethroids has led to a series of new compounds with a very favorable combination of properties. Their characteristics include outstanding potency to insects, low toxicity to mammals associated with rapid metabolic breakdown and, in appropriate cases, adequate stability on plant surfaces even in bright sunlight. Initial tests indicate that even the more stable compounds are degraded rapidly in soil, so if the trials at present in progress reveal no toxicological or environmental hazards, within a few years synthetic pyrethroids should be available to control a wide range of domestic, veterinary, horticultural, agricultural, and forest pests at low rates of application.
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            Point-source and area-wide field studies of pyriproxyfen autodissemination against urban container-inhabiting mosquitoes.

            Autodissemination of insecticides is a novel strategy for mosquito management. We tested if contaminated Aedes albopictus (Skuse) mosquitoes from a small area treated with commercial formulations (79gm a.i. pyriproxyfen/ha) using conventional techniques, would disseminate pyriproxyfen over a wider area. Pyriproxyfen showed LC50=0.012 ppb for Ae. albopictus. Direct treatment and autodissemination efficacy was measured as a pupal mortality by conducting Ae. albopictus larval bioassay. A tire pile (n=100 tires) treated by backpack sprayer as a point-source treatment showed higher pupal mortality in 2010 (60.8% for week 0-6) than in 2011 (38.3% for week 0-6). The sentinel containers placed for autodissemination in four compass directions out to 200-400m from the tire pile showed 15.8% pupal mortality (week 1-6) in the first year, and 1.4% pupal mortality in the second year. No significant difference was detected among the distances and direction for pupal mortality. In area-wide treatments, vegetation was sprayed in checkerboard pattern (3.7% of 105ha) using backpack sprayer in 2010 and in strips (24.8% of 94ha) using truck-mounted ultra-low volume (ULV) sprayer in 2011. In both years, the area-wide direct treatment efficacy was lower (30.3% during 2010 and 5.3% in 2011) than point-source treatments. Autodissemination in area-wide plots was higher in 2010 (10.3%) than 2011 (2.9%). However, area-wide treatments were ineffective on field populations of Ae. albopictus as monitored by using BGS traps. We found accumulation of pyriproxyfen in the week 6 autodissemination containers in both experiments. The differences in autodissemination in 2010 and 2011 can be attributed to higher rainfall in the second year that may have eroded the pyriproxyfen from treatment surfaces and sentinel containers. Our study shows that ULV surface treatments of conventional formulation do not work for autodissemination. The effectiveness of pyriproxyfen in autodissemination may be improved by developing specific formulations to treat vegetation and tires that can load high doses on mosquitoes.
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              Effects of different pyrethroids on landing behavior of female Aedes aegypti, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae).

              Mosquitoes from three genera, Aedes aegypti L., Anopheles quadrimaculatus Say, and Culex quinquefasciatus Say, were tested for facultative landing and resting behavior on pyrethroid-treated surfaces paired with adjacent untreated surfaces. The three pyrethroids tested were bifenthrin, deltamethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin. Landing and resting behavior was video recorded and quantified using Observer XT software. Untreated control treatments were tested to show behavior in the absence of insecticides. In controls, the three species had different activity levels, with An. quadrimaculatus being the most active and Cx. quinquefasciatus being the least active. The three species had unique responses to different compounds tested. Landing frequency on adjacent untreated and treated filter papers did not differ for any compound or species at any time during the experiment. However, landing frequencies did differ between treatments and over time. Differences between treated and untreated sides were largely caused by changes in the length of time mosquitoes rested on each side. An. quadrimaculatus had a unique response to the presence of deltamethrin compared with the other species or compounds in which it spent an increased amount of time in contact with both treated and adjacent untreated surfaces. Cx. quinquefasciatus avoided all three compounds by the end of the experiment and rested longer on untreated sides. In most cases, modification of landing and resting behaviors occurred only after mosquitoes had the opportunity to come into contact and acquire a dose of pyrethroid. Bifenthrin had the fastest TK50 for all species. Other differences between compounds for each species are described. The term excito-repellency has produced confusion in the literature, and it is revisited and discussed with respect to the results, which justify the use of alternative terminology. The term "locomotive stimulant" is offered as an acceptable alternative.

                Author and article information

                Environ Health Insights
                Environ Health Insights
                Environmental Health Insights
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                26 June 2019
                : 13
                [1 ]Mosquito Authority Laboratories, Green Cove Springs, FL, USA
                [2 ]Zoonosis Control Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, TX, USA
                [3 ]Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Disease Team, Georgia Department of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA
                [4 ]Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
                Author notes
                Craig A Stoops, Mosquito Authority Laboratories, 4048 J Louis Street, Green Cove Springs, FL 32054, USA. Email: craig.stoops@
                © The Author(s) 2019

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

                Custom metadata
                January-December 2019

                Public health

                anopheles, barrier application, pyrethroid, permethrin, bifenthrin, ddt, aedes, culex, mosquito


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