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10 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Neonics

By Daniel Raichel

As massive numbers of bees and other pollinators keep dying across the globe, study after study continues to connect these deaths to neonicotinoid pesticides (A.K.A. "neonics"). With the science piling up, and other countries starting to take critical pollinator-saving action, here's a quick primer on all things neonics:

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EPA Considers 300,000-Acre Expansion for Bee-Toxic Pesticide

The Center for Biological Diversity Thursday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny Bayer CropScience's request to allow the highly bee-toxic pesticide flupyradifurone to be sprayed on tobacco in states like Kentucky and North Carolina.

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NPS Photo / Kevyn Jalone

Help Save Creatures Great and Small on World Animal Day

On World Animal Day, we celebrate all the furry, scaly, winged and finned creatures that inhabit our planet.

On this international day of action, participants aim to "raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe," according to organizers at the UK-based charity Naturewatch Foundation. The occasion was first celebrated in 1925 and is observed annually on Oct. 4.

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Bumblebees are important agricultural pollinators, so their decline is cause for concern. James Johnstone / CC BY 2.0

Pesticide Touted as Neonicotinoid Replacement Still Harms Bees

As evidence builds that neonicotinoids harm bees and other pollinators and bodies like the EU move to ban them, the agricultural sector is casting about for something to replace what is currently the most-used type of insecticide worldwide.

But a study published in Nature Wednesday serves as a warning that any new pesticides must be properly vetted.

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Bees like this one could be harmed by the lifting of a ban on neonicotinoids in national wildlife refuges. Mark Winterbourne / CC BY 2.0

Trump Admin Reverses Ban on 'Bee-Killing' Pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges

The Trump administration has lifted an Obama-era ban on the use of genetically modified crops and pesticides linked to bee decline in certain national wildlife refuges where farming is allowed, Reuters reported Saturday.

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Low doses of most pesticides impair bees' learning and memory. Richard / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Low Doses of Pesticides Make It Harder for Bees to Find Flowers

A review of a decade of research of the impact of pesticides on bees found that even low doses commonly used in agriculture hurt the bees' learning and memory, a Royal Holloway, University of London press release reported.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Applied Ecology, found the bees' ability to remember floral scents was harmed even by pesticides not covered by Europe's recent ban on neonicotinoids.

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Neonicotinoid Pesticides Have Been Found in Wild Turkeys

By Dan Nosowitz

Neonicotinoid pesticides have commonly been linked to the plight of honeybees.

But a new study from the University of Guelph finds that honeybees aren't the only non-pest creatures that are coming into contact with the pesticides.

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Soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids (blue) and treated corn seeds (red) versus untreated seeds. Ian Grettenberger / PennState University, CC BY-ND

Why It’s Time to Curb Widespread Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticide

By John F. Tooker

Planting season for corn and soybeans across the U.S. corn belt is drawing to a close. As they plant, farmers are participating in what is likely to be one of the largest deployments of insecticides in U.S. history.

Almost every field corn seed planted this year in the U.S.—approximately 90 million acres' worth—will be coated with neonicotinoid insecticides, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. The same is true for seeds in about half of U.S. soybeans—roughly 45 million acres and nearly all cotton—about 14 million acres. In total, by my estimate, these insecticides will be used across at least 150 million acres of cropland, an area about the size the Texas.

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An Asian elephant eating tree bark. Yathin S Krishnappa / CC BY-SA 3.0

5 Conservation Milestones to Celebrate on This International Day for Biological Diversity

Scientists are increasingly realizing the importance of biodiversity for sustaining life on earth. The most comprehensive biodiversity study in a decade, published in March by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), warned that the ongoing loss of species and habitats was as great a threat to our and our planet's wellbeing as climate change.

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