Neonicotinoids found in 75% of honey samples world-wide

By MATT KELLY

A global survey of honey samples indicates that bee populations throughout the world are exposed to a cocktail of neonicotinoids.

“We assessed the global exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids by analyzing 198 honey samples from across the world. We found at least one of five tested compounds (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam) in 75% of all samples, 45% of samples contained two or more of these compounds, and 10% contained four or five. Our results confirm the exposure of bees to neonicotinoids in their food throughout the world.”


A worldwide survey of neonicotinoids in honey. E. A. D. Mitchell, B. Mulhauser, M. Mulot, A. Mutabazi, G. Glauser, A. Aebi (2017). Science.


Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides around the globe. While not intended to target bees, these insecticides still have a significant and detrimental impact on both native bees and honey bees through incidental or accidental exposure. Even at sublethal exposure, neonicotinoids can damage a bee’s ability to communicate, smell, navigate, reproduce and simply move its body.

Home gardens and landscaping are a significant pathway for neonics to get into our environment. Whether sprayed on foliage, drenched in the soil, or applied as seed treatments, these systemic insecticides become present in every part of a plant — including the pollen and nectar. Neonicotinoids have been found to spread to neighboring flowers, seep into water sources, and persist in the soil. Ornamental flowers and plants bought at garden stores are frequently treated with neonicotinoids; “insect control” sprays and products often use this type of insecticide.

Here’s an article from Popular Science about how to keep the bees in your backyard safe: Want to help the bees? Keep these out of your garden.