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Keywords:

  • Culex quinquefasciatus;
  • binary mixture;
  • co-toxicity coefficient;
  • insecticide mixture;
  • larval bioassays;
  • mosquito control;
  • permethrin;
  • probit analysis;
  • propoxur;
  • resistance management;
  • synergism

Abstract.  To see if synergism occurs between carbamate and pyrethroid insecticides, we tested permethrin and propoxur as representatives of these two classes of compounds used for mosquito control. Larvicidal activity of both insecticides was assessed separately and together on a susceptible strain of the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) by two methods. When mixed at a constant ratio (permethrin : propoxur 1 : 60 based on LC50) and tested at serial concentrations to plot dose/mortality regression, significant synergy occurred between them (co-toxicity coefficient = 2.2), not just an additive effect. For example, when the mixture gave 50% mortality, the same concentrations of permethrin and propoxur alone would have given merely 2 × 1% mortality. When a sublethal dose (LC0) of permethrin or propoxur was added to the other (range LC10–LC95), synergism occurred up to the LC80 level. Synergistic effects were attributed to the complementary modes of action by these two insecticide classes acting on different components of nerve impulse transmission. Apart from raising new possibilities for Culex control, it seems appropriate to consider using such mixtures or combinations for insecticide-treated mosquito nets in situations with insecticide-resistant Anopheles malaria vectors.