Neonicotinoids (or ‘neonics’) are systemic pesticides: Unlike contact pesticides, which remain on the surface, neonics are absorbed into the plant. Plants are sprayed or seeds are coated in these pesticides, which then are taken up by every part of the plant as it grows.
When an animal eats any part of the plant—from roots and leaves to fruit, flowers and pollen—it ingests these pesticides.
Neonics are meant to be more targeted than non-systemic pesticides, but they’re not. Research has shown that only 5% of the pesticide actually gets taken up by the crop. The other 95% ends up in the soil, the groundwater, the air—and other nearby plants, including wildflowers and hedges.
Neonicotinoids harm bees, butterflies, birds, and other animals.
Research on bees has exposed the toxic nature of these insecticides and opened up a worrying pandora’s box. Evidence now suggests they are also harmful to aquatic wildlife, birds and butterflies. As research continues, the full scale impact of these chemicals on our wildlife is emerging.
Wildlife are exposed to neonicotinoids when they eat pesticide-contaminated plants – including their seeds, pollen and nectar. And research has found that neonicotinoid pesticides aren’t acting alone: Wildflowers near crops treated with neonics are often contaminated with numerous pesticides in addition to neonicotinoids. Evidence suggests these pesticide cocktails can be 1000 times more toxic than neonicotinoids alone.
Neonicotinoids are contaminating our countryside, and poisoning our wildlife.
The EU’s partial, temporary ban isn’t enough: We demand that the Government ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on all crops, permanently.
See our infographic about neonics and their harmful effects on our countryside.Read more
While you’re here…
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You can help change the way we farm and eat for good. If everyone who visits our website and cares about the food they eat and how it’s been produced, makes a small contribution today, we can do more of the work that really matters.
Neonicotinoid pesticides must be banned permanently. We need mass action to make that happen. I grew up on a farm with lots of different animals – sheep, horses, cattle, chickens, geese, and not to mention the wildlife, which is disappearing from our countryside. I am proud to be a life-long member of the Soil Association, because I believe that my donations really matter when it comes to getting wildlife back in the countryside.Heather Rainbow Member of the Soil Association