Neonics: From killing bees to affecting birds

March 5, 2018

Neonics or Neonicontinoids are systemic insecticides and are water soluble in nature. This means that they can be easily taken up by the plants and can remain within the growing crop for longer duration of time. It makes them more efficient than contact insecticides, in theory. In order to do this, neonicontinoids are applied to the seeds, allowing them to permeate the entire plant.

However, within the past decade amidst growing evidence against neonics, many countries have mulled a blanket ban (Canada) or ban on certain specific types of the neonics (E.U). Alarm bells were first raised when neonicontinoids were found in honey samples from across the world and a phenomenon termed ‘colony collapse disorder’ was noticed among the bee populations; causing decline in worker bee population. Neonicontinoids have been implicated to trigger this by weakening bee immune system and making them susceptible to opportunistic fungi (Nosema).

A recent research published in Scientific Reports, Nature, has further investigated the role of neonicontinoids in song birds. Doses less than a single grain of corn were fed to birds studied and its effects were reported. A 17% to 25% weight loss was seen in the experimental population while they also displayed signs of losing sense of direction. It took another 14 days for these birds to regain their weight and sense of direction.

On a granular scale, the study was able to demonstrate the ill effects of neonicontinoids in animals and goes on to show that it is not just the insects which are affected by these insecticides. And that a larger toxic effect is at play when it comes to insecticides and pesticides.

Courtesy : The Guardian