Experimental huts similar in construction to the dwellings commonly used in East Africa, but with exit window traps, were sprayed with various formulations of the three residual insecticides, DDT, BHC, and dieldrin, and the effect on the A. gambiae and A. funestus entering them was observed.
The almost complete absence of kill recorded by Muirhead Thomson (1950) in experiments in similar huts in Tanganyika treated with DDT Ditreen was not confirmed by these experiments.
A significant proportion of the A. gambiae and A. funestus entering huts treated with DDT did, however, escape unharmed, even immediately after treatment, whereas with the other insecticides, BHC and dieldrin, none of these mosquitos escaped the effect at least in the first month after treatment.
In preliminary experiments in which observations were carried on for nine months after treatments, BHC P.530 still showed some effect after seven months. This was almost certainly due to the fumigant effect of the small amount of insecticide still remaining below the wall surface. The irritant properties of the two DDT formulations, Ditreen and the oil-bound suspension “Supona” D, still existed after nine months.
In a second group of experiments, dosages of less than 80 mg. DDT and less than 60 mg. BHC (8 mg. of the gamma isomer) per sq. ft. gave over 50 per cent. kills of A. gambiae and A. funestus for only one month.
In a third group of experiments, using two formulations of BHC, five of DDT, one of a mixture of DDT and BHC and one of dieldrin:—
(a) Dieldrin was by far the most efficient insecticide and gave very high kills for over seven months.
(b) The DDT formulations, Murphy paste, Murphy wettable powder, suspensions of DDT crystals <30 μ and 30–70 μ in diameter, when applied to the whole internal surface of the huts, produced fairly high kills over the period of the observations (six to seven months), but significant proportions of the mosquitos escaped their action even immediately after treatment.
(c) The BHC formulations, P.520 and the oil-bound suspension “Supona” B, gave high kills for three to four months only.
(d) The mixture of BHC and DDT in oil-bound suspension “Supona” DB gave the high initial kill of BHC and the long-lasting moderately high kill of DDT.
(e) Against C. fatigans all the DDT formulations used in the third group of experiments gave very low kills, the BHC formulations high initial kills and dieldrin high long-lasting kills.
BHC has marked fumigant and particulate properties lasting for three to four months. Dieldrin has a remarkable particulate action, which produces for the whole six-month period of the experiment, very high kills among mosquitos suspended without actual contact with the insecticidal surfaces; DDT only shows this particulate effect to a slight extent.
It is probable that the differences in the toxicities to mosquitos of the insecticides used in these experiments is due partly to differences in the irritant properties of the insecticides. In the case of DDT many of the mosquitos having contact with this insecticide are irritated and escape from the treated surface before acquiring a lethal dose.