May 3, 2013 — Neonicotinoids are under intense scrutiny. But a ban of a broad variety of pesticides may be required to protect bees, humans and the environment.

The European Commission, on 29th April 2013, slapped a two-year ban on insecticides suspected of killing off bee colonies. This follows the European Food Safety Authority finding that they pose a high acute risk to honey bees. Studies suggest that the nicotine-like compounds fry bees’ navigation systems and leave them unable to learn, while weakening their immune system.

But scientists now warn that other nerve agents targeting insect pests may also be harming bees and other pollinators. “These neonicotinoids are just one of hundreds of compounds being used and I would be surprised if it was all down to just these chemicals,” says Christopher Connolly, a neuroscientist at the University of Dundee, UK. He argues that we should not allow farmers spray a toxic soup of chemicals onto their crops.

Pesticides not adequately tested

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