Bacillus sphaericus


Schizomycetes: Eubacteriales


Approved name:

Bacillus sphaericus.


Bacillus sphaericus is found widely in soil substrate available nature and selected because of its effective control of mosquito larvae.


Bacillus sphaericus is produced commercially by fermentation as for Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki.


Mosquito larvae. Particularly active against Culex spp.


Used for urban Pest Management.


Mode of action:

Bacillus sphaericus produces parasporal, proteinaceous, crystal inclusion bodies during sporulation. Upon ingestion, these are insecticidal to mosquito larvae in the same way as Btk is to Lepidoptera and Coleoptera.


The crystal inclusions are mosquito larva specific. Because they have to be ingested and then processed within the insect's gut, they are often slow-acting (in comparison to conventional chemicals).. It is active against mosquito larvae under a wide range of conditions including extended residual activity in highly organic aquatic environments. sphaericus has a mode of action similar to that of thuringiensis Berliner. It should be applied from first instar up to early fourth instar, with toxic symptoms often appearing within an hour of ingestion by susceptible species. The bacterium is said to recycle in the aquatic environment and this is thought to be a consequence of proliferation in susceptible insects, cannibalism and release into the water.


Very effective when used against mosquito larvae in still water, even in the presence of high levels of organic matter. Light instability can cause problems if exposed to high intensities. Rapidly hydrolysed under even mild alkaline conditions. Sphaericus is more effective than Bti for use in slow-release formulations designed to control mosquitoes.



Formulated as water soluble granules (SG).


SPIC Biomass.


Applied by hand-held application equipment to water bodies. Rates of application depend upon the stage of larvae to be treated and the organic content of the water. Rates between 2 and 4 kg of product per hectare are recommended, with the highest rates used against large larvae and in highly polluted water.



Prepared as for Btk. The commercial product contains living spores of sphaericus plus the protein endotoxin. Efficacy can be determined by bioassay on Culex larvae in the laboratory.

Storage conditions and shelf-life:

Store in cool, dry, stableconditions. If stored under cool, dry, stable conditions, the formulated product will remain viable for 2 years.


Compatible with other major pesticides except copper-based fungicides or algal control agents.


Sphaericus has shown no adverse effects in approved field use on non-target organisms.


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  • Poopathi, S. 2000. Comparative estimation of activity of two marker enzymes for determining the quality of brush border membrane fractions for in vitro binding assays in Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) mosquito larvae. Journal of Entomological-Research. 24: (3), 199-205.

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  • Poopathi, S., Mani, T.R., Rao, D.R., Baskaran, G., Lalitha, Kabilan. And Kabilan, L. 1999. Effect of Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis on the ultrastructural changes in the midgut of Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Entomological Research. 23: (4), 347-357.

  • Poopathi, S., Mani, T.R., Rao, D.R., Baskaran, G., Lalitha, Kabilan. and Kabilan, L. 1999. Evaluation of synergistic interaction between Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis against Culex quinquefasciatus resistant and susceptible to B. sphaericus 1593 M. Journal-of-Ecobiology. 11: (4) 289-298.

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  • Yadav, R.S., Sharma, V.P. and Upadhyay, A.K. 1997. Field trial of Bacillus sphaericus strain B-101 (serotype H5a,5b) against filariasis and Japanese encephalitis vectors in India. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 13: (2), 158-163.

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