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Seed Treatments Have Driven the Rapid Increase of Neonicotinoids in US Pest Management

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide, but patterns of their use in the U.S. are poorly documented, constraining attempts to understand their role in pest management and potential nontarget effects. We synthesized publicly available data to estimate and interpret trends in neonicotinoid use since their introduction in 1994, with a special focus on seed treatments, a major use not captured by the national pesticide-use survey.

Global population decline in the Rustic Bunting

Populations of several long-distance migratory songbirds in Eurasia are in peril, drastically illustrated by the recent range-wide population collapse in the Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola. There are signals of a strong decline also in the Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica, but no range-wide assessment of population trends in this superabundant and widespread bunting species has yet been undertaken. The conservation status of Rustic Bunting is ‘Least Concern’ on the global IUCN Red List, but it has recently been upgraded to ‘Vulnerable’ on the European Red List.

The European population size of the ortolan bunting was halved in a decade

Following recent updates proposed by BirdLife International and further updates across Europe gathered in the context of a continent-wide study of the migration strategy of the species, we propose here an update of national population sizes and associated recent trends of the Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana). Previous estimates for the period 1999-2002 reported 5,200,000 to 16,000,000 breeding pairs, for an area extending east to European Russia, and south to the Caucasus and Turkey.

Dramatic decline of the bearded reedling in Spanish Mediterranean wetlands

The apparent stability of the bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus) in Spanish inland wetlands contrasts with its threatened status in Spanish coastal wetlands. The species has already disappeared from some coastal areas in Catalonia and its situation is critical in the region of Valencia. In 2013 we studied the breeding populations in three wetlands in Valencia using two methods: census by exhaustive search of individuals (territory mapping) and distance sampling using line transects.

Study Strengthens Link Between Prenatal Pesticide Exposure and Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects about 1 in 68 children in the United States, and a combination of genetic and environmental factors, along with complications during pregnancy have been associated with ASD diagnoses. A new study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Services has strengthened the link between prenatal exposure to agricultural pesticides and ASD. The study’s findings have been published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Neonicotinoids: Systemic Insecticides and Systematic Failure

The widespread adoption and use of neonicotinoid compounds originally considered to be environmentally benign can now potentially be considered to be an environmental catastrophe. While the generational development and production of neonicotinoids has focused on making these insecticides more potent to their target organisms at very small dosages, their adverse environmental consequences have largely remained overlooked. Imidacloprid was the first generation neonicotinoid to receive widespread attention for its environmental consequences.

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Alter the Gene Expression Profile of Neuron-Enriched Cultures from Neonatal Rat Cerebellum

Neonicotinoids are considered safe because of their low affinities to mammalian nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) relative to insect nAChRs. However, because of importance of nAChRs in mammalian brain development, there remains a need to establish the safety of chronic neonicotinoid exposures with regards to children’s health. Here we examined the effects of long-term (14 days) and low dose (1 μM) exposure of neuron-enriched cultures from neonatal rat cerebellum to nicotine and two neonicotinoids: acetamiprid and imidacloprid.

Neonicotinoids face total EU ban

After the two-year moratorium on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) this month issued an unfavourable opinion on two of the chemicals, for uses that are still authorised. Following EFSA’s conclusions confirming the toxicity of neonicotinoids for pollinators, the European Commission issued a moratorium on three chemicals: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. This moratorium expired in December 2015 and is currently being reviewed at European level. But the scope of the suspension was narrow.

Induction of abnormal behaviours in mice after in utero and early postnatal exposure to imidacloprid

Imidacloprid (IMD), a neonicotinoid insecticide, is the most widely used insecticide on the planet. The purpose of this study was to examine the behavioural and biochemical effects of chronic in utero and early postnatal IMD exposure. Our treatment regimen entailed chronic exposure whereby pregnant mice were infused with 0.5 mg/kg/day of IMD via a subcutaneous osmotic mini-pump from gestational day 3 to postnatal day 21.