Malathion and pyrethroid resistance in Culex quinquefasciatus from Cuba: efficacy of pirimiphos-methyl in the presence of at least three resistance mechanisms

Med Vet Entomol. 1991 Apr;5(2):223-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.1991.tb00544.x.


Use of malathion for mosquito control in Cuba for 7 years up to 1986 has selected for elevated non-specific esterase and altered acetylcholinesterase (AChE) resistance mechanisms in populations of the pest mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus Say. These mechanisms are still present in relatively high frequencies in the Havana area, despite the replacement of malathion by pyrethroid insecticides for the last 3 years in the mosquito control programme. Samples of Culex quinquefasciatus populations from within a 100 km radius of Havana had high levels of resistance to malathion and lower levels of resistance to propoxur, but there was little or no cross-resistance to the organophosphorus insecticide pirimiphos-methyl. Selection with malathion for twenty-two consecutive generations in the laboratory increased the level of malathion resistance to 1208-fold and propoxur level to 1002-fold, but the maximum level of pirimiphos-methyl resistance was only 11-fold. Pirimiphos-methyl is still operationally effective, despite the resistance mechanisms segregating, so this insecticide if used for control is unlikely to select either of the known resistance factors directly in the field population. Since 1986, pyrethroids have been used extensively, and low levels of pyrethroid resistance were detected in two of five field population samples tested. Malathion selection did not increase the level of pyrethroid resistance, which indicates that one or more distinct pyrethroid resistance factors are now being selected in the field populations of Culex quinquefasciatus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Cuba
  • Culex*
  • Insecticide Resistance
  • Insecticides*
  • Malathion*
  • Organothiophosphorus Compounds*
  • Pyrethrins*


  • Aerosols
  • Insecticides
  • Organothiophosphorus Compounds
  • Pyrethrins
  • pirimiphos methyl
  • Malathion