Study: Insecticides devastating insects (and ecosystems, too)

dragonfly.jpg(Photo: Getty Images)

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.

(h/t Reddit)

  • cara

    Where is Rachel Carson now?

  • Josh D.

    Imidacloprid is also one of the main two insecticides used to treat EAB, so expect to start seeing higher impact from this chemical in infested areas. If I remember correctly, Mpls actually considered or passed some sort of limits for the use of this chemical already, but I’ve also been hearing a lot of commercials for “over the counter” tree treatments that I believe have imidacloprid as the active ingredient.

  • ABC

    It seems Entomologists did not learn from past experience. Study the cotton history from Peru and India. They blew their natural enemies completely to protect cotton using insecticides indiscriminately and ultimately had to put a cotton break for couple of years to revive the natural enemies.