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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a species of bacteria that lives in soil. It makes proteins that are toxic to some insects when eaten, but not others. The proteins are not toxic to humans because, like all mammals, we cannot activate them. Bt is not toxic to non-target wildlife. However, one type of Bt (aizawi) can be toxic to honeybees. Bt is used as an insecticide, typically, for insect larvae. Remember, it has to be eaten to work.

General Questions about
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)

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Fact Sheet

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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)

(6:14 min.)
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Additional Resources:

  1. Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED): Bt – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  2. Environmental Health Criteria: Bt – World Health Organization (WHO)
  3. Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management - Cornell University

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated February 12, 2015

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