Eliminating malaria from highly endemic settings will require unprecedented levels of vector control. To suppress mosquito populations, vector control products targeting their blood hosts must attain high biological coverage of all available sources, rather than merely high demographic coverage of a targeted resource subset, such as humans while asleep indoors. Beyond defining biological coverage in a measurable way, the proportion of blood meals obtained from humans and the proportion of bites upon unprotected humans occurring indoors also suggest optimal target product profiles for delivering insecticides to humans or livestock. For vectors that feed only occasionally upon humans, preferred animal hosts may be optimal targets for mosquito-toxic insecticides, and vapour-phase insecticides optimized to maximize repellency, rather than toxicity, may be ideal for directly protecting people against indoor and outdoor exposure. However, for vectors that primarily feed upon people, repellent vapour-phase insecticides may be inferior to toxic ones and may undermine the impact of contact insecticides applied to human sleeping spaces, houses or clothing if combined in the same time and place. These concepts are also applicable to other mosquito-borne anthroponoses so that diverse target species could be simultaneously controlled with integrated vector management programmes. Measurements of these two crucial mosquito behavioural parameters should now be integrated into programmatically funded, longitudinal, national-scale entomological monitoring systems to inform selection of available technologies and investment in developing new ones.