Biological invasions have dramatically altered the natural world by threatening native species and their communities. Moreover, when the invading species is a vector for human disease, there are further substantive public health and economic impacts. The development of transgenic technologies is being explored in relation to new approaches for the biological control of insect pests. We investigate the use of two control strategies, classical sterile insect techniques and transgenic late-acting bisex lethality (Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal), for controlling invasion of the mosquito Aedes aegypti using a spatial stage-structured mathematical model. In particular, we explore the use of a barrier zone of sterile/transgenic insects to prevent or impede the invasion of mosquitoes. We show that the level of control required is not only highly sensitive to the rate at which the sterile/transgenic males are released in the barrier zone but also to the spatial range of release. Our models characterise how the distribution of sterile/transgenic mosquitoes in the barrier zone can be controlled so as to minimise the number of mass-produced insects required for the arrest of species invasion. We predict that, given unknown rates of mosquito dispersal, management strategies should concentrate on larger release areas rather than more intense release rates for optimal control. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.