"Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some. Here, I'll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected," Fox News quoted Gates as saying while opening a jar onstage at a gathering known to attract technology kings, politicians, and Hollywood stars.
Gates told the crowds at the hi-tech conference, "not only poor people should experience this."
He then waited a minute or so before assuring the audience the freed insects were malaria-free.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's media office confirmed the unusual presentation on malaria prevention. A spokesman said the insects released were not carrying malaria.
Gates retired as head of Microsoft last year to focus more on his foundation. One of its key projects is ending malaria and it has spent millions on fighting the disease.
The philanthropist has been pushing to reduce malaria deaths through non-profit initiatives.
In September, Gates announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would provide 168.7 million dollars to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to help develop a vaccine for the deadly disease. (ANI)