Last week (April 2018), the European Union voted to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, also known as neonics. First introduced in the 1990s, this new class of insecticides has rapidly gained popularity to become the most widely used pesticide in the world. Neonics, which are chemically similar to nicotine, affect the central nervous system of insects. Farmers and gardeners apply them as seed coatings, foliar spray or granules, and the insecticides are absorbed into the plants as they grow.
What’s the good news? As systemic pesticides, these chemicals are incorporated into plant tissues to protect them against many insect pests. And because neonics were designed to bind specifically to insect nerve cells, they have low toxicity for humans and other mammals. Continue reading