Does Sevin Dust Kill Bees? 

Sevin Dust is a form of a powdered chemical called Carbaryl [1] that has long been used as a pesticide. It has also been effective in killing off various garden pests that keep on destroying your lawn. However, though it is effective and convenient in solving your pest problems, it may also have unnecessary and adverse effects on the essential insects, like bees, that are crucial in our everyday lives.

The question now is, does Sevin Dust kill bees?

Sevin Dust and its other forms like sprays and granules are a type of pesticide which contain a chemical compound called Carbaryl. This chemical is toxic and deadly to most insects (advertised as more than 150 types), including the ever-important bees [2]. It can kill the bees by causing their immune system to be overstimulated and making it hard for them to breathe [3]. However, it is generally safe for humans, but users must be careful handling it [4].

Now let us learn more about this pesticide, how to use it, and its effect on insects like bees.

bees working on making honey in a beehive

What is Sevin Dust?

Sevin Dust is a brand of pesticide, particularly an insecticide, by the company GardenTech [5], which contains an active chemical compound called Carbaryl that has been proven to be effective in killing various insects and pesky pests, like cabbage worms, Japanese beetles, ants, fleas, ticks, spiders, worms, and more in and around the garden.

Carbaryl has been around since 1958, and the brand name Sevin was initially trademarked by the Bayer company before getting acquired by GardenTech 

It is also one of the more common types of outdoor agricultural pesticides in powder form that have been advertised to kill over 150 types of insects. Unfortunately, this pesticide has also been effective in killing various kinds of bees that are very crucial in the pollination of our flowers and plants in the garden. 

How do Sevin Dust works?

Sevin Dust is a pesticide. A pesticide is a general term that means that it is a chemical used to kill pests. If you want to be more specific, you can use insecticides for insects, herbicides for weeds, and miticides for mites.

The active ingredient of Sevin Dust is called Carbaryl, a pesticide that is toxic to insects. It has been proven effective in various types of garden pests. Still, it is generally advised to be used outdoors since Carbaryl is not currently registered to be used indoors.

It has also been categorized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as a General Use Pesticide, which means that products like Sevin Dust and other items with Carbaryl are available to the general public [4].

Once Sevin Dust or any pesticide containing Carbaryl comes in contact with insects through touch or ingestion, it overstimulates their nervous system. Since this chemical doesn’t allow the insects’ nerves to rest and maintains a constant state of stimulation, it hinders the respiratory system of the insects from working properly, eventually killing them [6].

beekeeper smoking out bees

Does Sevin Dust kill bees?

Bees are very important to humans, even if we are unaware most of the time. They are the free and natural pollinators of many of the food that we eat and the flowers that we plant. They even make the healthy and delicious honey that we consume. Unfortunately, they are often victimized by the pesticides we commonly use, even if we’re unaware.

Suppose you are a beekeeper or a gardener who needs bees for your fruit and flower gardens. In that case, you should avoid using Sevin Dust since this is very toxic to the bees and will quickly and painfully kill them [7]

Sevin Dust is one of the most dangerous pesticides for bees and should not be applied in blooming or flowering crops to avoid accidentally killing the foraging bees. If the worker bees are accidentally killed by this pesticide, it will be detrimental to the whole colony.

Why you should avoid Sevin Dust around bees.

Since Sevin Dust has been identified as effective for killing various pests and insects, there are still some reasons why you should not use them around your garden, especially if there are frequent bee visitors in your yard.

1. It is toxic to bees.

The first reason to avoid using Sevin Dust around bees is that it is very toxic to the bee population and will kill them. It may not even be a swift death for busy bees since Sevin Dust can cause trouble in their immune system, and they can die from breathing difficulties.

2. Bees are essential pollinators.

Bees are essential pollinators that are necessary for our daily lives, especially for farmers and gardeners who are highly reliant on these natural pollinators. They are also crucial in making the bees that we love to consume.

3. Bees are endangered.

Though not every bee specie is endangered, it is still necessary to be cautious about which pesticides and insecticides we use around the house to avoid accidentally killing off whole colonies of bees and further decreasing their population.

beehive on a field

Other ways to limit the dangers of using Sevin Dust and other pesticides on the bees

Not all pesticides are created equal. Some are more toxic to bees, while some are less. Different formulations can also vary the effect and toxicity of a pesticide or insecticide on the bees.

1. Avoid using dust formulations around bees

We now know that bees are covered by hair-like structures all over their bodies, so the dust particles are more dangerous to bees since these particles can hold on to their body hairs. Though the same Sevin Dust, the spray formulation can be a safer choice.

2. Limit the use of the wettable concentrate of Sevin Dust

The wettable concentration of Sevin Dust lasts longer than the emulsifiable type on the application area, so it will linger less, making it less likely to stick to the bee hairs.

3. Find a pesticide that has a faster residual activity

It would be better to use pesticides with a more rapid residual activity, making the degradation process quicker so that the potential exposure of the bees will be less, especially during their off-hours of foraging. 

4. Avoid using spray type of Sevin Dust

Aside from the dust type of the Sevin Dust, there are also spray types. However, it is essential to avoid using it when the wind speed is faster, and the tendency of the pesticide to reach bee colonies through drifting is higher.

Which animals and insects is Sevin Dust dangerous to use around?

Aside from the risks of accidentally killing unsuspecting bees and earthworms, they can also pose risks to other wildlife like birds, fishes, and other mammals. 

An important consideration when handling and storing pesticides to avoid accidental pesticide spills is to keep them far from waterways, storm drains, ponds, and other bodies of water.

bees flying into a beehive

Is Sevin Dust dangerous to humans?

Though Sevin Dust is generally used to treat insect infestations in the garden, there can still be incidents that can cause humans to be exposed to the risks of Carbaryl through the air we breathe and into our skin, mouth, or eyes, especially if it is windy.

However, it can cause more concern and risks if used indoors, especially to the pets and people inside. The risks are even higher for young children because they are more prone to ingesting Sevin Dusts through their toys and when they are lying on the floor.

Common signs and symptoms of exposure to Sevin Dust include weakness, dizziness, sweating, slurred speech, nausea, and vomiting. More severe poisoning can cause elevated blood pressure, a decrease in muscle tone, and even seizures. 

Sevin Dust and other pesticides with Carbaryl have also been identified as a possible carcinogen. They may also cause issues with the male reproductive system.

Always remember to read the pesticide labels before working with them and also ensure that you are wearing the proper gear for safety in handling, like gloves, masks, and eye protection.


Sevin Dust is a general-use pesticide according to the US EPA. It is based on an active chemical ingredient called Carbaryl, which can come in liquid, granules, or powder form. This chemical compound is effective in getting rid of about 150 types of insects typically found in the garden.

Unfortunately, it is also effective, toxic, and deadly to the bees, which is very helpful in pollinating flowers and plants. It can kill bees by causing overstimulation to their immune system, which will make it difficult for them to breathe, eventually killing them.

The Sevin Dust is also best used outside the house since there is still a risk for pets and people inside the house, especially if small children are roaming around the house. It is also essential to read the instructions on properly using this pesticide to avoid any unnecessary incidents.


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