Can one use Sevin selectively

non-greenthumbJune 16, 2008

I am a first time gardener with very little experience. I have a small, experimental garden (just three raised beds). I am not thrilled with the idea of using sevin - but I have squash bugs on my crookneck squash plant.

From what I have read my two choices for getting rid of these bugs before they kill my squash plant. Option 1 is to pick them and their eggs off by hand and kill them. That is a highly unlikely event - I am terrified of all things insect like. Option 2 is sevin. Seems to be the only thing that really kills them.

What I want to know is can I use sevin on just that one plant and something less toxic on the other plants? I don't want to harm beneficial insects or any animals and I'm not thrilled with the idea of putting poison on something my family may be eating. But I also don't want to lose my gorgeous squash plant to these ugly bugs.


Carole in Alabama

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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

you can use sevin how you describe.

you have 2 choices, liquid sevin or sevin dust.

lquid is less harmful to beneficials than dust, since bees tend to carry teh dust back to the hive and kill off the whole hive. you can mix the lquid in a small spray bottle and apply it directly to only the plants needing it if you desire. to cut down on killing the bees, do not spray it in any blooms.

follow label directions and allow the recommended number of days before harvest, as well as wash teh veggies before eating, and you have no worry of it affecting you or your family.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 12:32PM
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I brush the egg masses off when I see them, which is increasingly rarely as the squash gets more jungly. But that's all I do. And I have never had squash bugs kill a summer squash plant before we were good and sick of summer squash anyway :-).

Your mileage may vary, of course.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 12:33PM
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hmmmm not sure i ever get tired of squash lol

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:02PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

You might try using Diatomaceous Earth (DE). I bought a 50# bag of it two years ago from the local farm store (not everyone carries it, so call around) for $15. I've shared it with friends and still have a lot left.

DE is totally non-toxic, mainly affecting beetles. It works under their carapace and dehydrates them. It doesn't bother earthworms or bees, people or pets, water or soil. Farmers feed it to their livestock, saying it seems to cut down on the fly problem, and it also contains some trace minerals.

You can put it down quite thickly without worry. It works best when it's dry.

If you want to try it, ask for the CODEX FOOD GRADE kind. Other kinds often have pesticides and other 'stuff' mixed with it.

The only creveat: don't fluff it into a cloud and then stick your head into the cloud and inhale deeply. It's not good for your lungs, but if you're going to hurt yourself with it, you have to work at it.

Another possibility is one of those battery-operated 'car vacuums', the ones that don't pick up dog hair and popcorn, but I've heard that they can be used for vacuuming bugs off plants.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Melissa Houser

I used Sevin only on the plants that the squash bugs seemed to like: squash and cucumbers for me. I had to reapply the Sevin to the squash one week later, because I saw one more squash bug after the application. I didn't apply it to anything else and my squash and cukes seem to be recovering nicely.

I'm a novice gardener as well, so my experience may not be typical.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 7:05PM
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Is it ok to eat the vegetables after using sevin-dust?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:46PM
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Betteboo - Yes, you may eat the veggies after applying Sevin dust as long as you follow the timing restrictions on the label.

My mother was selectively using Sevin 50 years ago, and all of us kids are still alive, kicking, and healthy. Use it carefully and don't feel guilty about choosing a healthy veggie plant over a destroyed one. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 1:54AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

"My mother was selectively using Sevin 50 years ago, and all of us kids are still alive, kicking, and healthy."

Mine was using DDT.

IF you can get past your terror of insects, (or bribe the kids:-) spray the plants with a good stream of water around the base for several minutes. Turn the water off and wait. The SB don't like the water and will come to the top of the plants to dry out in the sun. I slip on a glove and toss them into a pail of soapy water. Works like a charm.

I don't like touching them either but watching them drown is soooo rewarding.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 6:59AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Peggy - that's exactly what I noticed about them also. Anytime I water, or hit them with liquid sevin at the base of the plant - the first thing they do is go to the top of the leaves. I crush them with my fingers most of the time, and the pungent odor is almost unbearable...Oh well, as least I know they're dead. Anyway, I only spray liquid at the bug, and not over the entire plant.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:52PM
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I would definitely recommend the Liquid Sevin. I use it for random bugs (mostly soil fleas) & it doesn't seem to harm any of my plants. My father-in-law also uses it & he has a huge garden.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:03PM
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Eh, a few squash bugs aren't the end of the world -- or even likely the end of your squash. An otherwise reasonably healthy plant (adequate water and nutrients) can produce reasonably well through most squash bug assaults. I seriously wouldn't get all excited about it and I certainly wouldn't bother with sevin. Ride it out and replant later if necessary -- that's what I do with squash vine borers which, unlike squash bugs, WILL do in a squash plant quite quickly.

FWIW, the longer I garden without using any broad-spectrum pesticide, the fewer problems I have with pests like squash bugs, potato beetles, etc. Things seem to balance out better over time.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:41PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Well, if you live adjacent to a large corn field, your mileage may differ. Last year I had waves of corn root worm beetles eating silks and ,YES, the corn leaves of younger plantings. Just when someone has it figured out for them, kindly remember soneone else's mileage may vary.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Newbies generally consider dust easier. T'aint so! Dust is harder to control, can be inhaled, applies more insecticide than is needed. Spray uses less matrial and is far easier to target while doing less damage to the applicator. Sometimes you can get the stuff premixed but even mixig it up isn't that big a deal.
If you're only dealing with one plant, I'd remove the affected leaves and put them in a plastic bag for disposal in the garbage.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 6:15PM
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