By Michael Norton, Khutso Phalane, Nina Hobbhahn; 10 September 2020
Consistent continent-wide regulatory systems are essential for sustainable agriculture
Neonicotinoids have become the world’s most widely used group of insecticides. Also known as neonics, they have lower human toxicity than the insecticides they replaced, and their systemic action renders all parts of the growing plant toxic to insect pests.
However, in the last decade it has become apparent that these compounds also have serious side effects. The active agent spreads into pollen and nectar in f lowering crops, and the neurological blocking mechanism through which the neonic works harms beneficial insects, including pollinators such as bees, hoverf lies and butterf lies. Moreover, most of the active agent ‘leaks’ into the environment, causing collateral damage to a variety of beneficial organisms that provide invaluable ‘ecosystem services’ that increase agricultural productivity and crop quality.
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