Protection of livestock against bluetongue virus vector Culicoides imicola using insecticide-treated netting in open areas


Dr C. Calvete, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria (CITA-Gobierno de Aragón), Unidad de Sanidad Animal, Ctra Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain. Tel.: +34 76 716453; Fax: +34 76 716335; E-mail:


The protection of livestock against Culicoides species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) using physical barriers or chemically treated barriers is difficult owing to the small size of these biting midges and animal welfare concerns associated with the reduction of air flow. Culicoides imicola Kieffer is the main bluetongue virus vector in the Mediterranean basin, including the southern Iberian peninsula, where livestock is mainly housed in open pens or sheds which offer no physical protection against C. imicola. In this study we assessed the efficacy of surrounding yearling ewe pens with a canvas barrier or a cypermethrin-treated canvas barrier in reducing the entry of Culicoides spp. and C. imicola. Analyses were based on comparisons of Culicoides catches in traps in pens with and without barriers, and in traps located outside pens. Although there was no clear reduction in the abundance of Culicoides other than C. imicola in pens with either barrier, the C. imicola presence was markedly reduced by the insecticide-treated barrier compared with the untreated barrier; the latter did not reduce the abundance of this species in pens. Estimates of the protection conferred against C. imicola by the treated barrier differed depending on whether catch comparisons were based on outside traps or on traps located inside no-barrier pens. The results suggest that the use of insecticide-treated barriers may reduce contact between livestock and C. imicola in open areas or sheds. More research is necessary to assess the degree of protection as a function of barrier height, C. imicola abundance, and the size of the area to be protected.