Environmental impacts of neonicotinoids outweigh crop yield benefits

Neonicotinoid use has increased rapidly in recent years, with a global shift toward insecticide applications as seed coatings rather than aerial spraying. While the use of seed coatings can lessen the amount of overspray and drift, the near universal and prophylactic use of neonicotinoid seed coatings on major agricultural crops has led to widespread detections in the environment (pollen, soil, water, honey). Pollinators and aquatic insects appear to be especially susceptible to the effects of neonicotinoids with current research suggesting that chronic sublethal effects are more prevalent than acute toxicity. Meanwhile, evidence of clear and consistent yield benefits from the use of neonicotinoids remains elusive for most crops.

Michelle L. Hladik, Anson R. Main, and Dave Goulson. Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06388