Jun 26, 2014

Scientists Warn That a Widely Used Pesticide Could Be Worse for Bees Than DDT

TakePart... more than 40 years after the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT, thanks in large part to the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a class of agricultural pesticides called neonicotinoids (neonics) poses an even more serious threat to bees, other wildlife, and entire ecosystems, according to a preview of a report to be published next week by an international group of scientists.

"In the case of acute effects alone, some neonics are at least 5,000 to 10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT," wrote the scientists affiliated with the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides. "The evidence is also clear that neonics pose a serious risk of harm to honey bees and other pollinators."

Studies have implicated neonics in the mass die-off of bees that pollinate a third of the global food supply. Many scientists believe the pesticide is one of several interrelated factors—including disease, parasites, and poor nutrition—responsible for the apian catastrophe that has unfolded over the past decade.

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