Preventative neonicotinoid treatment could harm bees, other pollinating insects
Douglas and Tooker/Environmental Science & Technology 2015
Since the early 2000s, U.S. farmers have dramatically increased their use of controversial insecticides suspected of playing a role in the decline of pollinating insects, such as honeybees. Called neonicotinoids, these insecticides are a class of neuroactive chemicals similar to nicotine.
The boom in neonicotinoid use came about as many agricultural companies and farmers started smothering seeds with the insecticide before planting, a preemptive treatment not monitored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, researchers report online April 2 in Environmental Science & Technology. In the new study, entomologists Margaret Douglas and John Tooker, both of Penn State University in University Park, combined agricultural data from the USDA, the U.S. Geological Survey, state records and a maize seed supplier. Using estimates of how much of the insecticide was sold and how much was used for nonseed