Voltage-gated sodium channels are critical for electrical signaling in the nervous system. Pyrethroid insecticides exert their toxic action by modifying the gating of sodium channels. A valine to methionine mutation in the transmembrane segment 6 of domain I (IS6) of sodium channels from tobacco budworms (Heliothis virescens) has been shown to alter channel gating and reduce insect sodium channel sensitivity to pyrethroids. A valine to leucine substitution was subsequently reported in pyrethroid-resistant bedbug populations. Intriguingly, pyrethroid-resistant mammalian sodium channels possess an isoleucine at the corresponding position. To determine whether different substitutions at this position alter channel gating and confer pyrethroid resistance, we made valine to methionine, isoleucine or leucine substitutions at the corresponding position, V409, in a cockroach sodium channel and examined the gating properties and pyrethroid sensitivity of the three mutants in Xenopus oocytes. All three mutations reduced the channel sensitivity to three pyrethroids (permethrin, cismethrin and deltamethrin). V409M, but not V409I or V409L, caused 6–7 mV depolarizing shifts in the voltage dependences of both activation and inactivation. V409M and V409L slowed channel activation kinetics and accelerated open-state deactivation kinetics, but V409I did not. Furthermore, the substitution of isoleucine with valine, but not with methionine nor leucine, at the corresponding position in a rat skeletal muscle sodium channel, rNav1.4, enhanced channel sensitivity to deltamethrin. Collectively, our study highlights an important role of residues at 409 in regulating not only sodium channel gating, but also the differential sensitivities of insect and mammalian sodium channels to pyrethroids.