In light of emerging evidence showing how a commonly used class of insecticides can spread through the environment to pollinators, predators and other insects they are not intended to kill, researchers are warning about the potential for widespread environmental contamination.
In an opinion in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from North Carolina State University and Pennsylvania State University argued for curbing the use of neonicotinoid insecticides by discontinuing the practice of applying them preventively on crop seeds, since the practice is in wide use in the United States and has been found in one study to benefit a small fraction of crop fields. They argue that reducing this and other common preventive practices could reduce cascading effects on the environment from insecticides whose risks have not been fully characterized.
"Since the research has focused on transmission of the insecticide from a plant to a particular pest to a predator of the pest, it's ignored the hundreds of other herbivores that are also on that plant, and also transmission of that material to their predators. That's where the food web concerns come in that we're interested in," said Steven Frank, co-author of the opinion and a professor in NC State's Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.
Read on: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200902182423.htm