Journal Publications Environment

The Conversation

Europe has banned neonicotinoid insecticides. Action is needed in Africa too

Authors: Hobbhahn, Nina; McGrath Peter; Norton, Michael

First marketed in the late 1990s, neonicotinoid insecticides have become the world’s most widely used group of insecticides. They offer lower toxicity to mammals than the insecticides they replaced. But their systemic nature means that all parts of the plant become toxic to insect pests. Even just a coating around seeds offers weeks of protection to a growing crop.

This is great for farmers. But the characteristics that make them so effective have also wreaked enormous collateral damage. Neonics (as they are more familiarly called) are now the most notorious group of insecticides in the world.

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