A field trial was carried out in the Sundargarh district of Orissa, India on the efficacy of mosquito nets treated with a tablet formulation of deltamethrin (K-O TAB) against malaria vectors. Treated nets were used in one village, and in the two control villages, one used untreated nets and the other used indoor spraying with DDT, without nets. In this area the primary malaria vectors are Anopheles culicifacies Giles sensu lato (Diptera: Culicidae) and An. fluviatilis James s.l., which are both endophagic and endophilic, and fully susceptible to deltamethrin. Treatment of a 10-m(2) mosquito net with one of the tablets gave a deltamethrin deposit of 25 mg/m(2). Bioassays repeated on domestically used nets over 7 months showed persistence of almost 100% mortality of An. fluviatilis, whereas An. culicifacies showed a decline from 100% to 71% mortality over this period, after which the nets were re-treated and bioassays were not continued. The sum of collections of mosquitoes resting in village houses and those in exit traps and dead on floor sheets showed a reduction in the numbers of the two vector species due to the treated nets, compared with untreated or no nets, but no reduction in other anophelines or Culex species. Large proportions of the collections of the vector and non-vector anophelines were dead on the floor sheets, but among Culex, mortality was delayed. Treated and untreated nets reduced the proportion of anophelines that had blood-fed; the treated nets did so more effectively than the untreated in the case of An. culicifacies and of Culex mosquitoes. In rooms with treated nets a larger proportion of the total collections [dead + live] were in the exit traps, which can be attributed to the excito-repellent effect of deltamethrin. It is easier to pack and handle tablets of insecticide than liquid concentrate and the use of one tablet per net may be preferable to making up a large volume of diluted insecticide and dipping many nets at a time.