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Which is the best insecticide to use: Malathion or Sevin?

larva of colorado beetles image by Irina Surikova from

Sevin, an insecticide containing the neurotoxin carbaryl, is best for corn earworms, cutworms and Japanese and other beetles. Malathion, an organophosphate, is best for sucking insects, aphids, scale and mites. Both work on cabbage worms. Avoid using both around bees, which may be killed by exposure.

Sevin Insecticide

A broad-spectrum pesticide, Sevin controls a wide range of insects and other pests in vegetable patches, ornamental gardens and orchards. Wear safety goggles, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and gloves when applying Sevin for personal protection. Sevin works by preventing nerves from functioning. Carbaryl breaks down by half into an inactive chemical in about 3 1/2 days on plant leaves, and four to 72 days in the soil, depending on the conditions. Pests die through eating Sevin, so it must be applied where the targeted pests congregate: on bark, leaves and stems or on the soil around the base of plants. Sevin also kills beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings and hoverflies, and honeybees, bumble bees, leaf cutter bees and alkali bees. Symptoms of carbaryl poisoning include stinging, burning, swollen eyes, a burning or sore throat, sweating, chest tightness and wheezing, nausea, retching and vomiting.

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