Bacillus thuringiensis


What is Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)?

Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) is a soil-dwelling bacterium that occurs naturally in the environment. It produces Crytoxins that are lethal to specific insects so it is useful in pest control. Bt is used to control mosquitoes and some other flying insects, beetles, certain types of worms, and caterpillars. Bt can be applied on a variety of crops, trees, shrubs, and gardens. Bacillus Thuringiensis is the key ingredient in products such as Bonide Thuricide and Mosquito Dunks.

Where is Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) used?

Bt is used in the agricultural sector with vegetable crops, field crops, fruit crops, greenhouses, and organic crops. It is used by the forestry industry on pine and spruce trees. Bt is used at home on trees, shrubs, and gardens. It is used to control mosquitoes by placing specially formulated Bt directly in standing water of breeding sites shortly after eggs hatch. Bt can be applied to plants, soil, or water depending on the target insect.

How does Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) work?

Bacillus Thuringiensis is a biological insecticide that works as a stomach poison in specific insects once it is ingested. It produces proteins that react with the digestive lining causing paralysis in the digestive system. The insect will immediately stop feeding and die hours to a few days later.

How safe is Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)?

The benefit of Bacillus Thuringiensis is that it has little to no effect on humans, wildlife, and other pollinators. In 1995 the EPA approved Bt modified crops, which are crops that are infused with the Bt gene. These crops now have a biological insecticide within the plant. Since only the insects are affected by Bt, there is no threat to ground water. The insecticide degrades quickly in sunlight with little effect to the environment. Apply as directed.

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