Issue Area

Neonicotinoids

Overview

A class of insecticide called neonicotinoids is linked to pollinator decline worldwide. Numerous studies demonstrate that neonicotinoids pose a threat to bee populations in particular. These insecticides appear in products sold to homeowners for use in lawns and gardens, as well as larger agricultural productions. Neonicotinoids are absorbed into plant tissue and pollen, and are later ingested by pollinators. Once infected, honeybees struggle with simple navigation and experience reduced growth rates. Restricting the use of neonicotinoids would benefit pollinator populations.

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Ruth Musgrave

Conservation Senior Advisor

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Key Facts

Pollinators - such as wild and domestic bees, bats, hummingbirds, and other insects - are responsible for one in every three bites of food, and increase national crop values by more than $15 billion a year.

Neonicotinoids can persist in soil for months or years after a single application. Measurable amounts have been found in woody plants up to six years after application.

A recent study from the University of Maryland found that U.S. beekeepers lost 43.7% of their honey bees from April 2019 to April 2020, the second-highest rate of decline the researchers’ have observed since they started the survey in 2006.

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Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

National Pollinator Health Strategy to Promote Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

Outlines a comprehensive approach to tackling and reducing the impact of multiple stressors on pollinator health.

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Pollinator-Friendly Best Management Practices

Guide for land managers to effectively and efficiently use available resources and engage public and private partnerships in taking action for the conservation and management of pollinators and pollinator habitat on federal lands.

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Overview of Pollinator Health

NCSL developed a collection of pollinator resources including state and federal actions.

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Xerces Society Report on Pollinators and Neonicotinoids

Reviews research on neonicotinoids in addition to highlighting knowledge gaps and research needs.

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