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Breed your own Bacillus Thuringiensis!  RSS feed

 
Patrick Winters
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How to make your own BT, the bacteria that stops armies of generalist caterpillars in their tracks. Even better, this same technique could be used to produce cultures of mosquito-killing BT Israeliensis! In perpetuity! HOLY SHIT!

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1982-03-01/A-Homebrewed-Pesticide.aspx

Well, ALMOST in perpetuity. The main question I would ask the rest of the permies here is whether it's possible to continue this chain through the dormant season. Is it possible to keep a BT culture alive over the winter? In a hypothetical situation where BT is no longer available for sale and you have to make do with what you have, how can you keep it going through the winter for the coming year?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Personally I'm against using Bt, which is for killing stuff. I don't like killing stuff. I like feeding the cute birdies, froggies, toads,lizards and snakes (all eat caterpillars). But I don't like spraying stuff around to kill things.

But that's just me!

 
Patrick Winters
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Don't get me wrong, I am definitely with you on that. I would much rather support an ecosystem that keeps caterpillars in check, but the thing about nature's hunters is that they will always hunt sustainably and keep plenty of caterpillars around for next year. It makes sense for them, but if a family is to depend on their own land entirely for subsistence, then a boom in armyworms could clean you out. Subsistence farmers are all about hedging their bets; you can't bet the farm, or at least that's how I figure it . I am 100% for permaculture techniques, but I also believe that the best way to deal with any problem is to bring together disparate elements for the best possible solution.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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I've poured a tiny bottle of liquid Bt-Thuricide into compost tea, then used a portion of tea to innoculate the next batch. For feed in the tea I add molasses or corn syrup, and a couple of alfalfa blocks. I have no microscope so I have no idea if the bacteria will reproduce in the tea. Something is going on in the tea for sure.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Patrick Winters wrote: a boom in armyworms could clean you out.


We don't have any kind of critter here in my region even remotely resembling something which could "clean us out" so I'm afraid I can't identify with this situation! So I'll have to take your word for it that in regions with army worms, they can wipe out your diverse, stable permaculture ecosystem.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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in our area there was a serious problem with tent caterpillars one year ..they nearly wiped out all the trees..

the next year there was a huge infestation of HUGE black flies..no one knew what they were or where they came from..

come to find out they were a natural predator of the tent caterpillars..that year the tent caterpillars were back, but they were quickly disappearing..

the next year..there were NO tent caterpillars and much fewer large black flies..

nature knows
 
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learn permaculture through a little hard work and get an acre of land
https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
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