The impact of permethrin-treated bednets on the feeding and house entering/exiting behavior of malaria vectors was assessed in two studies in western Kenya. In one study, matched pairs of houses were allocated randomly to receive bednets or no bednets. Exiting mosquitoes were collected in Colombian curtains hung around half of each house; indoor resting mosquitoes were collected by pyrethrum spray catches. The number of Anopheles gambiae Giles and An. arabiensis Patton estimated to have entered the houses was unaffected by the presence of bednets; Anopheles funestus Giles was less likely to enter a house if bednets were present. Anopheles gambiae and An. funestus were less likely to obtain a blood meal and significantly more likely to exit houses when bednets were present. No difference was detected in An. arabiensis rates of blood feeding and exiting. In a second experiment, hourly night biting collections were done on 13 nights during the rainy season to assess whether village-wide use of permethrin-treated bednets caused a shift in the time of biting of malaria vectors. A statistically significant shift was detected in the biting times of An. gambiae s.l., although the observed differences were small. No change was observed in the hourly distribution of An. funestus biting. Our study demonstrated that, at least in the short-term, bednets reduced human-vector contact and blood feeding success but did not lead to changes in the biting times of the malaria vectors in western Kenya.
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Vol. 38 • No. 4