Neonicotinoids (commonly referred to as neonics) are the most widely used insecticides in the world, commonly used on farms, in our gardens, schools, and city landscapes. They are systemic insecticides – they are absorbed into plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees and many other beneficial insects.
These chemicals can persist in the soil for months or years after a single application. They can move into water and have been found in a range of water bodies, where they may persist. Even when used according to label instructions, garden products containing neonics can be applied to plants in concentrations dozens of times greater than on farm crops, exposing bees to lethal doses of these pesticides in gardens. Even sublethal levels can cause honeybees to experience problems with flight and navigation.
How can you help?
- Avoid using neonicotinoids in your garden. Here are some examples of garden products that contain them.
- When purchasing plants, ask nursery or garden center staff if plants were treated with neonicotinoids.
- Create patches of pesticide-free, pollinator-friendly flowers in your garden. Find plant choices here.