The Diverse Applications of BTi
Bti, or Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, is a naturally occurring soil-borne bacterium that contains spores that produce a toxin that is specific to the larvae of mosquitoes, black flies, and fungus gnats. When the larvae ingest the toxin, it causes their gut to rupture, killing them. Bti is non-toxic to humans, mammals, birds, beneficial insects, fish, plants, and aquatic organisms.
Bti was first discovered in a stagnant pond in the Negev Desert of Israel in 1976 by Dr. Aaron Margalit, a scientist with the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture. Margalit was studying the pond as part of a research project on mosquito control, and he noticed that the mosquito larvae were dead or dying in the pond. He isolated the bacteria responsible for the deaths, and named it Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, in honor of where he discovered the bacillus.
Bti has been used to control mosquitoes since the 1980s, and it is now one of the most widely used mosquito control agents in the world. It is effective against every mosquito species, including those that transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus. Bti is also relatively safe for the environment, and it does not pose a risk to human health.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved 48 pesticide products containing Bti for use in residential, commercial, and agricultural environments. These products are used to control mosquito larvae in any standing water, including ponds, lakes, swamps, and even rain barrels, bird baths, and animal watering troughs.
Bti is a safe and effective mosquito control agent that has helped to protect millions of people from mosquito-borne diseases. It is a valuable tool in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases, and it is likely to continue to be used for many years to come.
Summit Responsible Solutions® is a big believer in the beneficial uses of Bti and its benign impact on the environment. So much so that it is the main ingredient in our Mosquito Dunks®, Dunk Chunks, and Bits® products. To learn more about Bti, click here.