Attempts to control insect pests and disease vectors have a long history. Recently, new technology has opened a whole new range of possible methods to suppress or transform natural populations. But it has also become clear that a better understanding of the ecology of targeted populations is needed. One key parameter is mating behaviour. Often modified males are released which need to successfully reproduce with females while competing with wild males. Insect control techniques can be affected by target species’ mating ecology, and conversely mating ecology is likely to evolve in response to manipulation attempts. A better understanding of (female) mating behaviour will help anticipate and overcome potential challenges, and thus make desirable outcomes more likely.