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Lawrenceville, NJ (Dr Simone) – Zika virus, carried by mosquitoes, is spreading rapidly because of travel and global events where large masses of people will come and go without restriction: summer Olympics, religious gatherings in Saudi Arabia, etc.

Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is a natural biological bacteria that kills mosquitoes, fungus gnats, black flies and a few types of midges.  It is safe for humans and all other creatures.  Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis can be bought but make sure all three words are on the label.
One caution regarding Bti and all other strains of Bt:  Bt is a close relative of anthrax.  The potential problem is that the WMD puffers which are used at some airports can’t tell the difference between Bt and anthrax.  Some organic gardeners have been grabbed by the TSA on suspicion of being terrorists.   Further testing cleared them.
Caution:  Do not wear clothes exposed to Bti to an airport unless they have been laundered.  Shower and shampoo after using Bti if going to an airport. (personal communication).

Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis kills by releasing crystals that are toxic when mosquito larvae ingest them.  Enzymes and an alkaline environment in the larvae gut release the crystal’s toxins causing the gut to rupture and death in 4 to 24 hours. Resistance has not been a problem.  But traps, repellents or other controls should also be used to prevent all the biting adults in a treated area, especially adults that may come from other non-treated areas miles away seeking blood.

Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis must be applied early and often. Elimination of larvae is difficult if they are in a large marsh, swamps, brackish ditches, or cesspools.

What good are mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are the deadliest insects on earth causing death for millions of people because of malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, etc, as well as diseases like Zika, and pose serious threats for livestock and pets. Mosquitoes and their larvae serve as a large biomass of food for fish, other aquatic animals, birds, bats, and spiders.

(c) 2017 Charles B. Simone, M.MS., M.D.