Keep vegetable plants healthy and vigorous to prevent insect problems.

Does Seven Dust Kill Colorado Potato Beetles?

by Marylee Gowans

The Colorado potato beetle is a small leaf-eating insect that can negatively affect the health and yield of your vegetable plants. You can kill these serious pests with the help of Sevin dust. Sevin dust is a widely available garden pesticide that -- if used properly -- can control damaging insects such as the Colorado beetle without harming your vegetables.

Colorado Potato Beetles

Identified by their shiny bodies embellished with black and yellow stripes, the Colorado potato beetle feeds on the leaves and fruit of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) , tomatoes (Lycopersicum esculentum), eggplants (Solanum melongena) and peppers (Capsicum spp.). The larval stage of Colorado potato beetles has a red-colored body with black spots. These beetles are not harmful to humans or pets but are difficult to control due to their ability to develop resistance to insecticides.

Sevin Insecticide

Sevin dust is a ready-to-use insecticide that is available at home improvement shops, garden centers and department stores. It is available in a shaker-like container, which allows for easy application to your garden. Sevin dust contains the active ingredient carbaryl, which was registered in the United States in 1959. It is used to control a wide array of pests including Colorado potato beetles, cockroaches, fleas and ticks. Carbaryl is toxic to humans and beneficial insects -- such as bees, parasitic wasps and ladybugs -- as well as aquatic wildlife. Care must be taken when using Sevin dust or any insecticide containing carbaryl to prevent harm to yourself or the environment.


Before beginning treatment, put on chemical-resistant rubber gloves and a dust mask to protect yourself from the insecticide. Start at the furthest corner of the area you are treating and work backwards, shaking the dust over the ground and leaf surface of plants. You want to cover the area with a thin layer of the insecticidal dust. Sevin dust can be used up to three days before harvest but should never be applied more than once every seven days. Furthermore, don’t apply more than six treatments in a single year. Treating plants with Sevin dust should be done on a day when the air is calm. This will help prevent wind drifts from carrying the insecticide to other areas.


The liquid form of Sevin insecticide will also help control Colorado potato beetles and works better on plants that are at waist or chest level or higher. This insecticide can be applied to the foliage of infested plants using an amount of 3/4 to 1 1/2 fluid ounces for every 1,000 square feet. For proper coverage, you need to add enough water to the Sevin liquid insecticide to thoroughly coat the plants. You can repeat the treatment as needed at seven-day intervals. However, do not apply more than sevem treatments in one year or within three days of harvest. For best results, always follow the instructions on the Sevin insecticide label.

About the Author

Marylee Gowans has written about gardening for both online and print publications. She attended the University of Akron, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. In 2009, she received master gardener certification from the Master Gardeners of Summit County, Ohio.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images