We use cookies to ensure that our site works correctly and provides you with the best experience. If you continue using our site without changing your browser settings, we'll assume that you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use and how to manage them by reading our cookies policy. Hide

Pest Management Science highlights: Neonicotinoids

fields

8 May 2018

In April, EU Members States voted for a near complete ban of the use of neonicotinoid insecticides – an extension to restrictions in place since 2013. The ban, which currently includes a usage ban for crops such as maize, wheat, barley, and oats, will be extended to include others like sugar beet. Use in greenhouses will not be affected.

Research indicates that the use of neonicotinoids has led to a significant decline in the honeybee population, as well as other pollinator species, but pro-use campaigners and many farmers argue that the existing ban has shown no significant scientific evidence to support it.

In response to the recent ban, SCI’s Pest Management Science journal has made a number of related papers free to access to better inform on the pros and cons of neonicotinoids.

The Editorial

Are neonicotinoids killing bees?

Robin Blake and Len Copping discuss the recent political actions on the use of neonicotinoids in agriculture, and the UK’s hazard-based approach following field research unsupportive of an outright ban on the insecticides.

The Mini-Review

A beekeeper's perspective on the neonicotinoid ban

Conflicting evidence on the effects of neonicotinoids on the honeybee population has beekeepers confused and has led to the increase in the use of older insecticides, reports one beekeeper.

The Perspectives

Three years of banning neonicotinoid insecticides based on sub‐lethal effects: can we expect to see effects on bees?

Following the 2013 EU partial ban on neonicotinoids, experts called for good field data to fill knowledge gaps after questioning of the validity of the original laboratory research. To encourage future debate, realistic field data is essential to discouraging studies using overdoses that are not of environmental relevance.

The adverse impact of the neonicotinoid seed treatment ban on crop protection in oilseed rape in the United Kingdom

This paper describes the consequences of the ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments on pest management in oilseed rape, including serious crop losses from cabbage stem flea beetles and aphids that have developed resistance to other insecticides.

The Research Articles

Characteristics of dust particles abraded from pesticide treated seeds: 1. Size distribution using different measuring techniques

Particle size is one of the most important properties affecting the driftability and behaviour of dust particles scraped from pesticide dressed seeds during sowing. Different species showed variable dust particle size distribution and all three techniques were not able to describe the real-size distribution accurately.

Characteristics of dust particles abraded from pesticide treated seeds: 2. Density, porosity and chemical content

Aside from particle size, drift of scraped seed particles during sowing is mainly affected by two other physical properties – particle shape and envelope density. The impact of these abraded seed particles on the environment is highly dependable on their active ingredient content. In this study, the envelope density and chemical content of dust abraded from seeds was determined as a function of particle size for six seed species.

Performance of honey bee colonies under a long‐lasting dietary exposure to sublethal concentrations of the neonicotinoid insecticide thiacloprid

Substantial honey bee colony losses have occurred periodically in the last decades, but the drivers for these losses are not fully understood. Under field conditions, bee colonies are not adversely affected by a long‐lasting exposure to sublethal concentrations of thiacloprid – a popular neonicotinoid. No indications were found that field‐realistic and higher doses exerted a biologically significant effect on colony performance.

Concentration‐dependent effects of acute and chronic neonicotinoid exposure on the behaviour and development of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Neonicotinoids are under review owing to emerging toxicity to non‐target species. To test the effects of other organisms on the ecosystem this study has looked at three major classes of the insecticide on Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) – the roundworm. This study found C. elegans is less susceptible to neonicotinoids than target species of pest insect.

Related links:

Share this article