Abstract Background Spatial repellents that drive mosquitoes away from treated areas, and odour-baited traps, that attract and kill mosquitoes, can be combined and work synergistically in a push-pull system. Push-pull systems have been shown to reduce house entry and outdoor biting rates of malaria vectors and so have the potential to control other outdoor biting mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti that transmit arboviral diseases. In this study, semi-field experiments were conducted to evaluate whether a push-pull system could be used to reduce bites from Aedes mosquitoes. Methods The push and pull under investigation consisted of two freestanding transfluthrin passive emanators (FTPE) and a BG sentinel trap (BGS) respectively. The FTPE contained hessian strips treated with 5.25 g of transfluthrin active ingredient. The efficacies of FTPE and BGS alone and in combination were evaluated by human landing catch in a large semi-field system in Tanzania. We also investigated the protection of FTPE over six months. The data were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models with binomial distribution. Results Two FTPE had a protective efficacy (PE) of 61.2% (95% confidence interval (CI): 52.2–69.9%) against the human landing of Ae. aegypti. The BGS did not significantly reduce mosquito landings; the PE was 2.1% (95% CI: −2.9–7.2%). The push-pull provided a PE of 64.5% (95% CI: 59.1–69.9%). However, there was no significant difference in the PE between the push-pull and the two FTPE against Ae. aegypti (P = 0.30). The FTPE offered significant protection against Ae. aegypti at month three, with a PE of 46.4% (95% CI: 41.1–51.8%), but not at six months with a PE of 2.2% (95% CI: −9.0–14.0%). Conclusions The PE of the FTPE and the full push-pull are similar, indicative that bite prevention is primarily due to the activity of the FTPE. While these results are encouraging for the FTPE, further work is needed for a push-pull system to be recommended for Ae. aegypti control. The three-month protection against Ae. aegypti bites suggests that FTPE would be a useful additional control tool during dengue outbreaks, that does not require regular user compliance.