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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
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.
Hi. Thank you for sharing this experiment. It seems helpful and I will save the instructions for the future. I just have two questions: Could you simply pour store-bought BT into milk and then use a bit that batch to inoculate the next? Also do you find hoop nets to not be effective enough in managing caterpillars?
They worship nothing. They say it's because nothing lasts forever. Like this tiny ad: