Neonicotinoids and Bees
How Neonicotinoids Can Kill Bees
The science behind the role these insecticides play in harming bees.
By Jennifer Hopwood, Aimee Code, Mace Vaughan, David Biddinger, Matthew Shepherd, Scott Hoffman Black, Eric Mader, and Celeste Mazzacano.
Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides used widely on farms and in urban landscapes. They are absorbed by plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees. Four years ago there was uncertainty about the impact these insecticides were having on bees. Research published since then clearly shows how neonicotinoids are killing bees or changing their behaviors.
In this report, we present an overview of research that clearly documents neonicotinoid impacts on bees. The report also covers what can be inferred from existing research, and identifies knowledge gaps that will need to be filled to allow for better-informed decisions about the future use and regulation of these chemicals.
A summary of the report is available here and may be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF. The summary includes key findings and clearly documented facts from the report, as well as inferences that can be made from current research and identifies knowledge gaps that need to be filled to better inform decisions about the future use and regulation of these chemicals.
Stemming from the report we’ve compiled a list of recommendations to protect pollinators from neonicotinoids. The recommendations are broken into sections that include policy solutions, suggestions for risk assessment and research design, and general mitigation efforts that the users of neonicotinoid products can implement. The recommendations may be read online here or are available for download as a PDF.
In addition to the report and recommendations, we’ve begun compiling and reviewing a list of research articles related to the impacts of pesticides on pollinators and other invertebrates. Select articles with summaries may be viewed here.
Neonicotinoid Movement in the Environment
Neonicotinoids are being found throughout the landscape in areas where they were not applied. This figure from our report illustrates some of the main pathways for neonicotinoid movement in the environment and also shows how this movement could expose beneficial insects.
Click Here to download this graphic as a PDF.