Is Sevin insecticide safe? It is a rather controversial debate. Sevin insecticide is quite popular in the gardening community. The company, GardenTech, claims that it formulates its insecticide using Zeta-cypermethrin, which has the potency to kill more than 500 pests and can keep the crops safe for three months long. There is no denying the fact that Sevin insecticide is toxic, as it kills pests within a few minutes of contact.
In addition, Sevin insecticide is quite popular among American gardeners. However, many other countries, including Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Angola, and Iran, have banned its use.
So, is Sevin insecticide safe or not? We have done some digging to uncover the truth. Here is the whole story.
Sevin® Insect Killer: An overview
Sevin, also known as carbaryl, has been used by gardeners since its first introduction to the public in 1956. Its relatively low cost, broad-spectrum activity, and it has relatively short interval between application and harvest time made carbaryl a popular choice.
A few years ago, the Sevin brand was acquired by the pesticide distributor GardenTech. In 2018, GardenTech switched the active ingredient in Sevin® Insect Killer from carbaryl to zeta-cypermethrin, another new pyrethroid insecticide.
Zeta-cypermethrin, the new active ingredient in Sevin, is an excellent active ingredient with longer staying power than the old carbaryl, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
In addition, sometimes Zeta-cypermethrin (not all the time) will likely perform better than carbaryl.
Available in spray, granules, and dust forms, many gardeners prefer buying Sevin Dust as it is easy to use. Its active ingredient disrupts the nervous system of insects when they eat or touch the chemical. However, it also affects beneficial pollinators, including honeybees, in a negative way, which is quite unfortunate.
Is Sevin Insecticide Safe?
When you correctly follow the instructions from GardenTech, Sevin dust is safe. But, you should keep humans, including kids, out of the areas where you applied Sevin dust until it has been washed away by rain.
When mishandled, Sevin dust can lead to diseases and poisoning. Always remember to wear gloves when applying Sevin dust and strictly follow the instructions.
Is Sevin Banned?
On August 1, 2020, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) adopted a law making it illegal for anyone to use pesticides containing the chemical carbaryl without proper licensing and training.
In addition, carbaryl is on the list of banned pesticides internationally. And countries where Sevin is banned, include Angola, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
The most prominent diseases that only accidental exposure can cause are cardiovascular diseases, blurred vision, blood pressure disturbance, breathing difficulties, digestion issues, and diarrhea.
Other serious illnesses appear due to constant inhalation of the chemical, including respiratory failure, black lung disease, lung cancer, and heart failure. Pregnant women should keep themselves from exposure to Sevin insecticide as it can lead to fetal abnormalities.
If you are wondering if Sevin dust is safe for pets or not, do know that it is as harmful to pets as humans. Pesticides can damage the respiratory or nervous systems of animals as well.
Can Sevin Insecticide Be Used On Vegetables?
Whenever you apply Sevin dust, ensure, or any other product, ensure there is a clear need to apply Sevin dust and make sure you apply it properly by strictly following the instructions of use.
From spraying Sevin to consuming vegetables, the suggested wait times depend on vegetables and quite often range between three to fourteen days.
The same rule goes for the vegetables belonging to the brassica family featuring Chinese cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, mustard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. The pre-harvest interval (PHI), which indicates how soon you can harvest and eat a vegetable after using a pesticide, is within three days after the Sevin application.
If we talk about leafy vegetables then do know that they take a long time between the application of insecticide and harvest of the crop. For lettuce, endive, spinach, parsley, and celery, wait at least two weeks.
Sevin can also affect beneficial birds and insects. This chemical is powerful enough to knock out the predators of aphids and spider mites.
Now many people must be wondering if Sevin dust vegetables are safe after washing. The answer is Yes, but only after washing thoroughly. Always give your vegetable a good wash to remove any dirt or chemical residues. If you are growing your vegetables organically or buying them from an organic farm, wash vegetables to avoid bacteria or other contaminants.
- Soak your vegetables in deep water for at least half an hour and rinse every vegetable separately under running water.
- Even after washing your vegetable thoroughly, if you remain doubtful about the safety of the vegetables, remove their peels before cooking to get rid of any remaining chemical residues. It is easy to remove the thick skin of onions and corn. Even though the skin of potatoes, cauliflower, and cucumber is edible, you can peel it, too, to be on the safe side. Pepper, snap peas, and tomatoes are often consumed with skin, so wash them carefully.
Is Sevin Spray Safe For Tomato Plants?
According to GardenTech, Sevin spray, with an active ingredient of Zeta-cypermethrin, is safe and effective in killing more than 500 insect pests by contact with vegetables (including tomato plants) and fruits, ornamentals, and flowers. And it protects your tomato plants for up to three months.
Sevin spray insecticide includes only about 0.35% zeta-cypermethrin, a non-systemic insecticide that you can use on vegetables and fruits.
The general recommendation is to thoroughly rinse your fruits and vegetables before consuming them if you apply Sevin or any other insecticides to ensure that you don’t ingest any insecticide residues.
After application, do not allow children, adults, or pets to enter the treated zone until the sprays have dried. In addition, ensure you carefully read the product label for listed pests and strictly follow application instructions.
Gardeners Can Try Cultural Alternatives Than Sevin Dust
Generally, herbicides, including Sevin Dust, are costly and contain dangerous chemicals that eliminate weeds disturbing your garden or property. And these weeds can choke out beneficial plants by stealing water and vital nutrients needed for proper growth.
So, why go for a non-selective pesticide like Sevin for your garden when many cultural measures are available that effectively kill pesticides?
Luckily, there are many non-toxic options available that you can try. In addition, a homemade weed killer salt and water spray can make a cheap and organic alternative to commercial herbicides.
You can use plenty of home remedies, such as beneficial bugs, and yes, the bugs will eat a few of your plants. But isn’t it better to let them have a sacrificial plant or veggies?
You can also apply old-fashioned insect deterrents like vinegar, good old soap, and water to retard fungus. Ensure you water your plants adequately because overwatering encourages disease.
Even better, if you have Epsom salt, you can use it to water your plants because the magnesium from the Epsom salt promotes growth in plants.
Also, what about choosing cultivars that best suit your area? You can also go to buy disease-free seeds and transplants from any trusted source available near your location. You can search for certified disease-free options.
It is quite necessary to grow healthy plants so that they can fight pests. Row covers can also be used to cover seedlings to keep the insects from laying eggs.
Crop rotation has also helped gardeners in keeping pest populations under control. Also, keep a watchful eye for insect damage in the early stage. This way, you will be able to pick off the bugs because they turn into the worst headache.
The companion planting method can also be employed to discourage pest growth.
Overall, is Sevin insecticide safe? I would say it is like a double-edged sword. Even though it comes with dozens of benefits, the shortcomings are also not to ignore.
Many countries have legalized its use, while others made its use illegal, so if you live in a country where you can use this chemical, ensure you learn how to apply Sevin Dust using the necessary safety measures properly.