Aedes aegypti L. (Stegomyia aegypti) (Diptera: Culicidae) is the principal vector of dengue and yellow fever viruses in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Disease management is largely based on mosquito control achieved by insecticides applied to interior resting surfaces and through space sprays. Population monitoring to detect insecticide resistance is a significant component of integrated disease management programmes. We developed a bioassay method for assessing insecticide susceptibility based on the feeding activity of mosquitoes on plant sugars. Our prototype sugar-insecticide feeding bioassay system was composed of inexpensive, disposable components, contained minimal volumes of insecticide, and was compact and highly transportable. Individual mosquitoes were assayed in a plastic cup that contained a sucrose-permethrin solution. Trypan blue dye was added to create a visual marker in the mosquito's abdomen for ingested sucrose-permethrin solution. Blue faecal spots provided further evidence of solution ingestion. With the sugar-insecticide feeding bioassay, the permethrin susceptibility of Ae. aegypti females from two field-collected strains was characterized by probit analysis of dosage-response data. The field strains were also tested by forced contact of females with permethrin residues on filter paper. Dosage-response patterns were similar, indicating that the sugar-insecticide feeding bioassay had appropriately characterized the permethrin susceptibility of the two strains.