Xerces Society report details negative effects of neonicotinoids on beneficial insects

Photo Credit: William Warby Photo Credit: William Warby

Researchers at the Xerces Society published a report this year detailing the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on beneficial insects such as bees, lady beetles, and earthworms. The paper, entitled “Beyond the Birds and the Bees,” provides a comprehensive review of the growing body of research on harmful effects that neonicotinoids have on these invertebrates, and makes recommendations on how to protect beneficial insects. The findings show that neonicotinoid seed treatments may be unnecessary, as their use is not consistently associated with yield benefits, and can be less cost effective than other pest control measures. They also show that resistance has been documented for a number of pests including the green peach aphid, whitefly, and Colorado potato beetle. Additionally, they found that neonicotinoids may have negative effects on soil organisms, bees, wasps, and other beneficial insects. Based on these findings, they recommend that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should suspend the registration of currently approved neonicotinoids until the agency is able to re-assess the ecological safety of these insecticides.