Use of Pathogenic Bacteria

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is one of several pathogenic bacteria registered for use on edible plants in the United States. It reproduces only in the digestive tracts of caterpillars and is harmless to humans and all other wildlife, including earthworms, birds, and mammals. It is exceptionally effective against a wide range of caterpillars, such as tomato hornworms and fruitworms, cabbage worms and loopers, grape leaf rollers, corn borers, cutworms, fall webworms, and tent caterpillars. It is mass-produced and sold in a powdered spore form at nurseries and garden supply stores under the trade names of Dipel, Biotrol, and Thuricide. The powder is mixed with water and applied as a spray. Beneficial bacteria are available from Solutions Unlimited, Sharon Springs, NY 13459.

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