The Q&A Archives: Sevin as a Pesticide

Question: In looking through different vegetables and pests that gardeners encounter, I have never seen where you reccomend the use of Sevin. I have been using Sevin for sometime now & have not had any problems with it. Is Sevin a safe product to use, or am I doing more harm than good?

Answer: Of all the synthetic pesticides, Sevin is reputed to be one of the safest to use, and is sometimes the best control available today for certain, difficult pests. However, we rarely mention synthetic pesticides in this Q and A for several reasons:

1. Many pests can be kept in check with cultural controls--proper watering, fertilizing, pruning, etc. And also by choosing the best varieties and catching problems early. We encourage gardeners to be careful observers, and to identify the true culprits.

2. All our information is posted to a database, where fellow gardeners can retrieve the information. Since pesticide regulations change year to year, with some pesticides being taken off the market, we feel it's better that people contact their local Cooperative Extension office--they will have the most current recommendations--if they can't control the problem through cultural techniques.

3. We consider the use of pesticides--both organic and synthetic--to be a last resort, because pesticides can disrupt the population of beneficial insects--those that can often keep pest insects in check--and harm other creatures like bees.

4. When we do recommend pesticides, we often choose "organic" controls first. Organic pesticides tend to have a shorter "residual" effect, meaning they persist for a shorter time in the environment. This can be a bad thing, because it may mean more pesticide must be applied. On the other hand, what material is used will often break down into harmless substances more quickly than sythetics.

My suggestion to you would to be judicious in your use of Sevin--and any pesticide--and follow labels directly. You may find, by searching our database, cultural solutions to some of your problems that will help you reduce pesticide use. I hope this is helpful!

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