Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on July 26, 2018. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Always read and follow pesticide label directions
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new formulation of an old pesticide is great for gardeners who are careful and always follow label instructions, even when using products that seem familiar.
For example, Sevin, a staple in garden insect control for generations, has a new active ingredient. This garden favorite traditionally contained carbaryl as its active ingredient, and growers had to wait up to 14 days to harvest produce sprayed with the product. A new formulation of Sevin has zeta-cypermethrin as its new active ingredient.
Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the new product is more effective against a wider range of insects and it allows gardeners to harvest most vegetables a lot sooner after use.
“This is a product that will control most insect pests in the home vegetable garden and can be used on most crops in the garden,” Layton said. “Another benefit is that you can pick and eat most vegetables just one day after applying the pesticide.”
Layton said the company making the new Sevin product with zeta-cypermethrin is also continuing to produce the old Sevin product with carbaryl.
“This product is going to cause a good bit of confusion because there are many Sevin products made by different companies that still contain carbaryl,” Layton said.
A similar situation exists with some herbicides. Layton said there are several different formulations of Roundup herbicide.
“Some contain only glyphosate and kill only plants that are present when the chemical is sprayed, but others contain long-lasting residual herbicides that kill weeds and other plants for up to a year,” Layton said. “It’s really important to know the difference if all you want to do is kill existing vegetation so you can plant a new vegetable garden or flower bed.
“And to make matters even more confusing, there is even a new granular insecticide for home lawns called Roundup Bug Destroyer,” he said.
Rick Snyder, Extension vegetable specialist at the MSU Truck Crop Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, said these new formulations of well-known products illustrate why it is important to carefully read every chemical label. This is true even when dealing with a product one has successfully used in the past.
“Sevin, an older insecticide, has great name recognition to home gardeners, so I can see why the manufacturer is retaining the same name even though they’re changing the active ingredient,” Snyder said. “Although this new Sevin should still work fine on many of the same insect pests, this is another example of why you should always look at the label -- not only for the active ingredient but also for new mixing rates and other important information.”
Labels on pesticide containers always list a variety of information, including active ingredients, application instructions and uses for the product. Charts indicate the rate at which the chemical should be applied, as well as important information about timing of the application.