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Thread: Gypsy Moths, Liquid Sevin, and My Pool

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    FattyLumpkin's Avatar
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    Gypsy Moths, Liquid Sevin, and My Pool

    Hi all - as some of you are probably already aware, we're having a bad outbreak of Gypsy Moths (well, in caterpillar form) here in New England. They're all over just about every tree. They decimate the plants and drop their "waste" all over the ground, including on my pool deck and in my pool water.

    I am considering spraying some of my trees with liquid Sevin to kill the buggers, but I'm concerned that some of it may (it will) get into my pool water. Is this something I should be overly concerned with, provided I'm careful and don't allow too much overspray to enter the pool?
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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Gypsy Moths, Liquid Sevin, and My Pool

    Bacillus thuringensis (BT) is an alternative worth considering. It's a bacteria which grows in the gut of caterpillars resulting in mortality, and is an approved treatment in many organic farming systems and urban forestry. It's a bit challenging to use, because environmental conditions for application are specific and BT can be ineffective if applied under poor conditions.

    I have to doubt Sevin and swimming pools has been studied anywhere! If it has, I most certainly defer.

    Sevin is carbaryl, a carbamate pesticide, which is mostly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and a bit of nitrogen. I don't believe any negative effects on the pool water would occur from overspray. But like any pesticide, I would apply it only in accordance with the directions, including all recommended precautions.

    A reasonable precaution would be to close the pool temporarily. If you have a cover, you could put it on the pool and hose it off afterwards. Remove the dead caterpillars when they fall in the pool. Carbaryl has a reasonably short half life in aquatic systems, generally longer in dirty water, but the breakdown mechanism is primarily by bacteria which would likely not be in abundance in a pool. Carbaryl is rated as moderately to very toxic, and dilution would be significant, but it is not possible to comment about effects. Carbaryl can be absorbed through the skin, which indicates caution.

    Note that honeybees and bumblebees are very sensitive to carbaryl, so apply when temperatures are below 55F or over 90F when bees are less active. I believe the label includes more complete advice as part of the precautions.

    From personal experience, individual smaller trees and shrubs can be protected with a bran bait laced with sevin, which reduces risk to non-target insects.

    Here is a link to more complete information about carbaryl: Carbaryl
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    FattyLumpkin's Avatar
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    Re: Gypsy Moths, Liquid Sevin, and My Pool

    Wow, awesome response, needsajet! Very much appreciate.
    / 24k Gal, 18x36 Freeform IG Vinyl Saltwater / Sta-Rite MPRA6E-205L 1HP Pump / Sta-Rite System:3 Cartridge Filter / IC-40 SWCG / Dolphin Nautilus Cleaner / TF-100 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir / Taylor K-1766 Salt Test /
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    JayBauman's Avatar
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    Re: Gypsy Moths, Liquid Sevin, and My Pool

    A few years ago, and at my previous house, an open half-full jug of Sevin was accidentally* knocked into my swimming pool. I panicked for about 30 seconds before I measured my pool chemistry and increased my SWG %. As far as I could tell, there were no deleterious effects from the mishap. We swam in the pool the same day.


    *On a related note: I fired my landscaping crew that same day.
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    Re: Gypsy Moths, Liquid Sevin, and My Pool

    Quote Originally Posted by JayBauman View Post
    ... there were no deleterious effects from the mishap ...
    have the neighbors started calling you (or your kids/wife/family) "Twitchy?"
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