This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Developing and Optimizing Micro-resolution Mosquito Bite Blocking Textiles




Holt, John

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Biosystems Engineering

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Textiles have been applied in the context of entomological applications since the primitive inventions of clothing and shelter. In many cases insects are injurious to humans. Mosquitos kill over a million people each year and it all stems from the problem that hematophagous insects bite humans. We have attempted to control populations since the Sumerians first used sulfur to kill pests. However, environmental and societal health risks pose a strong threat to the efficacy of primary control methods. Traditional bed nets were instrumental in the fight against mosquito borne diseases and still are. Unfortunately, they become less efficient as some species of mosquitos are adapting to day feeding. It is always pertinent to revisit old technologies in light of new advances in order to engineer better products. Wearing “normal” clothing is not sufficient to reduce the ability of insects, particularly mosquitos, to bite humans. Engineering clothing to mechanistically block mosquito bites without the use of insecticides is a challenging problem. This research explores a series of parameters and knitting structures that can enhance the bite blocking efficacy of clothing. It was discovered that a single knit structure, interlock, after washing, is capable of blocking mosquito bites. Other prototype sleeves were created using different knit structures while varying parameters such as yarn diameter, stitch length, spandex content, and post-manufactured shrinking. Here we define variables and treatments proven to directly contribute to the bite blocking ability of knitted textiles.