Imidacloprid, the world’s most widely used insecticide, is wiping out dragonflies, snails and other species not meant to be killed by the product, a new study says.
The insecticide is used not on crops, but rather to treat fleas and and other pests in cattle, dogs and cats and ends up in surface water, The Guardian reports.
Big deal, right? Well, yeah. It is a big deal.
More from The Guardian (emphasis mine):
The research … found that 70% less invertebrate species were found in water polluted with the insecticide compared to clean water. There were also far fewer individuals of each species in the polluted water. “This is the first study to show this happens in the field,” van der Sluijs said.
As well as killing mayflies, midges and molluscs, the pollution could have a knock-on effect on birds such as swallows that rely on flying insects for food, he added.
It’s not the first time Imidacloprid has been indicted for something like this. Last year, a Harvard study cited it as a likely cause in the sharp decline in honeybee colonies.
Our attempts to change ecosystems have unforeseen consequences, it seems.