Everything you need to know about 'Mosquito Dunks': What is Bti … – WDIV ClickOnDetroit

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Kayla Clarke, Senior Web Producer
Kayla Clarke, Senior Web Producer
Mosquitoes use standing water to breed, which is why you should make sure there isn’t any standing water on your property. But what if you can’t get rid of the standing water? That’s where Bti becomes useful.
If you can’t empty, scrub or cover items that hold water you can use Bti to kill off any mosquito larvae that could be hatching in there. So, what is Bti? Below is information from the EPA and CDC regarding Bti and its safety.
Bti is a bacterium that occurs naturally in soil.
Bti is short for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis. It has been used in mosquito control for more than 30 years.
According to the EPA, Bti contains spores that produce toxins that only affect the larvae of the mosquito, blackfly and fungus gnat.
Five different strains of Bti have been registered with the EPA and can be found in 48 pesticide products approved for residential, commercial and agricultural use.
Bti kills mosquito, black fly, and fungus gnat larvae.
After larvae eat the spores, it causes the larvae to stop eating and die. It only works against actively feeding larvae and does not affect mosquito pupae or adults.
By killing the larvae soon after they hatch from eggs, the Bti helps reduce mosquito populations overall.
Studies have shown that Bti is effective in reducing mosquito larval populations. It could be effective in controlling mosquitoes carrying Zika, dengue and chikungunya in places like Puerto Rico — or other areas where the diseases have been identified.
Read: Let’s talk about Michigan mosquitoes: Are they eating you alive? Here’s what to know
Bti is available in several forms, including dunks, tablets, briquettes, pellets, granules, or liquid.
It can be added to standing water or containers that cannot be emptied out, covered, or turned over every week. Those containers could be rain barrels, fountains, ornamental ponds and pools that are not in use.
Bti can also be applied using trucks, airplanes, handheld sprayers or by tossing it by hand.
Read: Michigan’s first mosquito-borne virus of 2022 detected — here’s what you need to know
Bti is not toxic to people and has not been shown to make people sick, according to both the CDC and EPA.
It is not believed to harm people, pets, other animals, aquatic life or other insects.
Bti can be applied to a mosquito habitat without impacting food crops or water supplies. Bti can be used for pest control in organic farming.
The EPA said it is important to follow the label to make sure the Bti product is being used correctly. There are several products that can be used on certain drinking water while others are not intended for drinking water use.
According to the EPA, studies have indicated that “Bti has minimal toxicity to honey bees.” Bti produces toxins that specifically affect the larvae of only mosquitoes, black flies and fungus gnats. These toxins do not affect other types of insects, including honey bees.
No. There is no documented resistance to Bti.
A 2013 study confirmed previous research that showed a lack of Bti resistance in mosquito populations that had been treated for decades, according to the EPA.
Read: Mosquitoes are buzzing around Michigan: Here’s how to protect yourself from bites, diseases
Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce. That’s why you should empty, scrub or cover any items that hold water.
Standing water is often found in old tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flower pot saucers or trash containers.
Mosquitoes can complete their life cycle in about a week. The CDC recommends using an outdoor insect spray made to kill adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are often found in dark, humid areas.
Michigan officials suggest taking the following steps:
Read: Dress accordingly: Mosquitoes attracted to certain colors more than others, study finds
Sources: CDC, EPA
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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.
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At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.

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