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There are several different kinds of neonicotinoid insecticides. The first neonicotinoid to reach the market was imidacloprid, a common ingredient in Bayer Advanced Garden insecticides. This product can be sprayed on the plant, but is often more effective (especially on sucking insects) when applied to the soil. Dinotefuran (Safari) is another, more highly water-soluble, neonicotinoid that is especially good on sap-feeding insects. A recent study by the majority of the European Union’s member states has found that neonicotinoid pesticides harm bees and other pollinators. Not everyone agreed, but the World Health Organization did, after it reviewed around 100 scientific studies and concluded that the United Nations’ cancer warning is probably correct.
Initially neonicotinoids were praised for their low-toxicity to many beneficial insects, including bees; however recently this claim has come into question. New research points to potential toxicity to bees and other beneficial insects through low level contamination of nectar and pollen with neonicotinoid insecticides used in agriculture. Although these low level exposures do not normally kill bees directly, they may impact some bees’ ability to foraging for nectar, learn and remember where flowers are located, and possibly impair their ability to find their way home to the nest or hive.
Despite the controlled studies completed to date, the actual impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on honey bees in the field are difficult to measure. It is still not known whether these effects explain bee colony collapse disorder, or have had any effect in agriculture or, especially, in urban areas.The relative infrequency with which bees are expected to encounter neonicotinoid insecticides in urban landscapes suggest that the impact of these insecticides in backyard gardens, when used appropriately, is probably minor. To keep risk to bees and other beneficials low, however, a few simple steps should be taken: (1) follow the label directions carefully, (2) restrict neonicotine applications to the soil, or during times when bees are not foraging (e.g., in the evening), and (3) treat only those individual plants which need treatment for a known pest infestation. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))