• SNAP Display at Event
  • Learn to Manage Pests Naturally
  • Learn About Colony Collapse Disorder and How to Protect Bees
  • Grow a Lush Garden Organically
  • Link to SK Organic Resources
  • LIving Near Fields Increases Pesticide Exposure
  • Learn About Pesticides in Foods
  • SNAP Tour of Organic Vegetable Garden
  • Learn to Keep Insects Out of your Crops
  • Driving Near Recently Sprayed Fields Exposes People to Pesticides


Terrestrial Invertebrates

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also see soil

Vital soil organisms being harmed by pesticides, study shows    The tiny creatures are the ‘unsung heroes’ that keep soils healthy and underpin all life on land (The Guardian, 4 May 2021)    'The researchers found the measured impacts of farm chemicals on earthworms, beetles, springtails and other organisms were overwhelmingly negative. Other scientists said the findings were alarming, given the importance of these “unsung heroes”.' The study 'covered more than 275 species and 284 pesticides, but excluded any chemicals currently banned in the US.    Donley said: “It’s not just one or two pesticides that are causing harm, the results are really very consistent across the whole class of chemical poisons.” A 2012 review showed that pesticides can also harm microbial life in soils.' see also  Meta-Review: Pesticides Kill or Harm Soil Invertebrates Essential to Soil Health (Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2021) 

Soil Biota Adversely Affected by Interaction of Inputs and Practices in Chemical-Intensive Agriculture (Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2016) .."The study demonstrates that simple evaluations of pesticide exposure on single organisms does not give a complete picture of pesticide risk."...The study, titled 'Pesticide Interactions with Tillage and N Source, Effects on fauna, microoganisms and selected ecosystem services', monitored soil biota during two cropping seasons of winter wheat...Researchers observed a negative effect due to pesticide treatment on mites, and generally found that all taxonomic groups were affected negatively, especially following insecticide treatment.

Roundup Damages Earthworms and Soil Biota, Contributes to Nutrient Pollution (Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2015) A study published in Scientific Reports has found that glyphosate, the controversial and toxic active ingredient in Roundup, reduces activity and reproduction in two species of earthworms and increases soil nutrient concentrations to dangerous levels... Researchers found that after the application of glyphosate, the casting activity of vertically burrowing earthworms essentially ceased. Cast mound mass also decreased by 46%. In contrast, casting activity of this species remained constant when there was no application of glyphosate. In the second species, the soil dwelling earthworms, reproduction decreased by 56% after glyphosate application.

Sublethal Exposure to Pesticides Induces Personality Changes in Spiders (Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2015) 'Sublethal exposure to the organophosphate pesticide phosmet results in significant alterations in personality in individual spiders, according to a study published in the July print edition of the journal Functional Ecology...Exposed individuals showed an average of 23 percent lower repeatability and the correlation between activity and prey capture is more strongly collapsed in females', making hem less effcient predators.


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Debilitating Ear Blisters Plague Long Island Turtle Populations from Pesticide Use    (Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2021) A recent report by Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons finds Long Island, New York turtles are experiencing higher rates of deadly aural abscesses or ear blisters from pesticide use... However, synergism (collaboration) between viral infection and toxic chemical exposure increases aural abscess instances...Chemical contamination promoting disease/viral infection is not a new phenomenon among wildlife. ... Turtle Rescue facility workers note that aural abscess incidents are getting worse due to COVID-19. Advocates suggest that with more individuals remaining at home, chemical inputs are increasing, particularly for pesticides like disinfectants and lawn care chemicals.'

Aquatic Organisms Including Crustaceans and Insects

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see also filed waterneonicotinoidsglyphosate. and forestry

Organochlorine Pesticides among South China Sea Coral Reefs   (Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2021) A recent study published in Chemosphere identifies the concentration, consequences, and potential sources of 22 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) among corals in the South China Sea (SCS) for the first time. SCS corals exhibit a higher affinity toward bioaccumulation of OCPs, which are legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention—a global treaty to eliminate POPs. The study finds the distribution of OCPs in coral tissue matches that of the surrounding oceanic air samples.... Long-range atmospheric transport and condensation are significant contributors to the global contamination of environmental pollutants like OCPs.

Chemicals, including Pesticides, in Wastewater Discharge Contaminate Oysters in Pacific Northwest   (Beyond Pesticides, July 08, 2021) 'A Portland State University (PSU) study finds oysters of varying distances from wastewater discharge pipes along the Oregon and Washington state coast contain low levels of chemical contaminants....Although wastewater treatment facilities clean water draining from sinks and toilets, the process does not adequately remove all contaminants. The process can leave behind pharmaceutical drugs and personal care products (e. g., shampoos, make-up, deodorant) residues in treated water. PSU has already found that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon coast..  Although this study finds that chemical concentrations present in oysters remain under federally established guidelines, aquatic environments continuously encounter environmental pollutants and toxic compounds. These contaminants are known to have harmful biological consequences on both aquatic and terrestrial organisms.  The use of pharmaceuticals, like antibiotics and antifungals treatments, and pesticides in local marine ecosystems (e.g., insecticides to control sea lice in farmed salmon) results in coastal habitat loss and genetic health risks like pest resistance among wild marine organisms.'

Ecosystem Health: Pesticide Use from Forest Management Practices Threatens Essential West Coast Marine Organisms    (Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2021) A Portland State University (PSU) study finds that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon state coast. Bivalves are excellent indicator species, signaling environmental contamination through their sedimentary, filter-feeding diet. However, continuous pesticide inputs—from various forestry management regimes—into watersheds along Oregon’s coastal zone endanger these species in downstream rivers and estuaries (river mouths).... The study results detect 12 different chemical compounds (two herbicides, three fungicides, and seven insecticides) in both water and bivalve samples—five of which are current-use pesticides in forest management. Although pesticide concentration and type vary by season, organism, and watershed location, 38 percent of bivalve samples harbor pesticide concentrations high enough to accumulate in tissuesIndaziflam (a current-use herbicide in Oregon forestry) is present in seven percent of bivalve samples. Furthermore, water samples find current-use herbicides hexazinone and atrazine, and banned pesticides like DDT/DDE contribute to aquatic contamination downstream. The study uncovers that most contamination occurs along the Central Oregon Coast in the Siuslaw and Smith watersheds       Additionally, coastal and offshore aquaculture (farming of aquatic organisms) presents a new, looming threat to marine health. Namely, the use of antibiotics and pesticides on local marine ecosystems (e.g., insecticides to control sea lice in farmed salmon) results in coastal habitat loss and genetic and health risks to wild marine populations.   SNAP Comment: As of 23 March 2021, 7 Indaziflam products are registered in Canada, most for orchards and one for non residential/non-crop areas which includes railroads and utilities but not specifically forestry. 5 Hexazinone products with 3 used for alfalfa and blueberries, and 2 for woodland management and Christmas tree plantations, and 12 Atrazine labels which seem to be for use mostly in corn and agriculture. I suspect that extensive water testing in Canada would indicate the presence of many pesticides that likely could accumulate in bivalves and other aquatic organisms. If these particular products were found, the source would likely be agricultural and not forestry. 

Pesticides and Road Salt: A Toxic Mixture for Aquatic Communities      (Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2021) Insecticides and road salts adversely interact to alter aquatic ecosystems, reducing organism abundance and size, according to a study in the journal Environmental Pollution. Pesticide use is ubiquitous, and contamination in rivers and streams is historically commonplace, containing at least one or more different chemicals.   Researchers performed a toxicity evaluation of six insecticides from three chemical classes (neonicotinoidsthiamethoxam, imidacloprid; organophosphates: chlorpyrifos, malathion; pyrethroids: cypermethrin, permethrin). Additionally, researchers note the potentially interactive effects of these insecticides with three concentrations of road salt (NaCl).   Researchers find that differing pesticide classes directly impact aquatic communities, and exposure to insecticides indirectly alters the food web in freshwater communities.    Although pesticides and road salts individually impact aquatic communities, this study is the first to demonstrate their interactive effects. 

Long-Term Roundup Exposure Found to Harm Keystone Wildlife Species   (Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2021)  “The problem is that much of the evidence is rooted in outdated toxicity tests which only look at the number of animals that die on exposure to extremely high concentrations of these chemicals,” Dr. Orsini said. “These tests also overlook the pathological effects arising from long-term exposure to low doses. What we’re proposing is that toxicity is measured by looking at what happens to the animal at a molecular and fitness level following long-term exposure, which encompasses the entire animal life cycle.”   Changes in fitness were seen for every trait except mortality. Roundup delayed average age of sexual/reproductive maturity, reduced size at maturity, decreased the total number of offspring produced, and increased developmental failure – as determined by the number of aborted eggs, and juveniles borne dead..  Researchers also observed damage to DNA, with glyphosate and Roundup showing only slight differences in affected pathways      Roundup and glyphosate were also found to indirectly alter both the makeup and total number of microbiota in the water flea’s gut. These changes were correlated with alterations to the way fat and carbon are metabolized, as well as the animal’s detoxification pathways.

What’s Bad for Bees Could Be Bad for Marine Life, Too   Preliminary research shows that a popular insecticide hampers arthropods in the ocean. (by Ramin Skibba, PANNA, May 4, 2020)  'They found that coral exposed to the insecticide had reduced polyp activity—an indication of increased stress. Shrimplike amphipods were affected, too. Even at low doses, imidacloprid exposure inhibited their movement. And for some, high levels of exposure were fatal.  Hladik says most of the concentrations of neonics tested in Davis’s experiment were unrealistically high—beyond what is seen in the wild. But even low doses, she adds, could still be a hazard for marine life.'

Ecosystem-Killer Fipronil More Toxic Than Previously Thought, Found in Waterways Throughout the U.S. (Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2020) The insecticide fipronil is more toxic to aquatic insects than previously thought, often present in U.S. waterways, and can trigger trophic cascades that disrupt entire aquatic ecosystems, finds new research published by the U.S. Geological  Survey (USGS). The data have important implications for waterways throughout the country, but particularly in the Southeast U.S. where the chemical was found at hazardous levels in over half of sampled steams. USGS has provided regulators at EPA with a framework for evaluating ecosystem-wide effects; one that should be instituted into our currently pesticide regulatory framework immediately.  SNAP Comment: As of 28 October 2020, the PMRA label search comes up with 0 fipronil products, either curently or historically registered.

U.S. Geological Survey Finds Mixtures of Pesticides Are Widespread in U.S. Rivers and Streams    (Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2020) 'A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, reveals the presence of pesticides is widespread in U.S. rivers and streams, with over almost 90 percent of water samples containing at least five or more different pesticides. Thousands of tons of pesticides enter rivers and streams around the U.S. from agricultural and nonagricultural sources, which contaminate essential drinking water sources, such as surface water and groundwater.    'The median number of pesticides present per water samples from each land-use type is highest in agricultural settings with 24 pesticides, and lowest in mixed (both agricultural and developed land) settings with seven pesticides. Developed areas fall in the middle, amassing 18 pesticides per water sample. Pesticides in water samples are potentially acutely to chronically toxic to aquatic invertebrates and chronically toxic to fish. Of the 221 pesticide compounds analyzed, 17 (13 insecticides, two herbicides, one fungicide, and one synergist) are primary drivers of toxicity in aquatic taxonomic groups. According to the PTI analysis, one pesticide compound contributes to >50% of the sample toxicity, while other present pesticides only contribute minimally to toxicity.

Documented Decline of Mayflies, a Keystone Species, Destabilizes Ecosystems (Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2020)    'Recent research reveals a precipitous decline in numbers of mayflies in territories where they have been historically abundant.  Neonicotinoid insecticides are a significant factor in this decline because mayflies are exquisitely vulnerable to their impacts, even at very low exposure levels.  The plummeting mayfly “count” is especially alarming because mayflies are a critical, primary food source in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and provide an important ecological service.  Three phenomena account for most of this dive in mayfly populations: (1) dramatically increased use of neonicotinoid pesticides in recent years in these regions; (2) algal blooms, especially in Lake Erie, caused primarily by runoff of agricultural fertilizers and other nutrient-dense pollutants; and (3) the warming impacts of the climate crisis, which include higher water temperatures that can cause havoc with the development of these tiny creatures...  Neonics in Great Lakes tributaries, for example, have registered at levels 40 times those established as protective by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Aquatic Life Benchmarkaccording to a 2018 study....also see  In a Pesticides and You article, “Pesticide Use Harming Key Species Ripples through the Ecosystem,

Common Fungicides’ Use Leads to Algae Blooms   (Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2019) ...'real world complexities as described in the current study are not reviewed ( by regulatory agencies). This gap in our assessment can lead to significant adverse effects not just on individual species, but entire ecosystems....The agricultural fungicides tebuconazole and azoxystrobin were tested. These results indicate that use of the fungicide may be facilitating harmful algae blooms by suppressing fungal pathogens that may otherwise control their growth...There is a need not only to consider the issue raised by the current study, but the wide ranging indirect impacts of pesticide use.'

Water is the Connection: Managing Pesticide Risk for Salmon Recovery
A Guide for Willamette Valley Farmers
  (NCAP, June 2017)  This publication is designed to help pesticide applicators, especially in agriculture, learn about salmon in the Willamette Basin and the pesticides that are harmful to salmon or their food sources. Pesticide label language that indicates potential for aquatic contamination is explained. Voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize pesticide risk to aquatic habitats are included. Pesticide applicators can choose among these BMPs to reduce the risk of harming salmon. SNAP Comment: Most of the pesticides discussed here are also used in Saskatchewan and the risk to aquatic environments and other fish species is likely similar. With only 1 provincial  and 2 federal pesticide inspectors in Saskatchewan, most misuse is never reported, and even less prosecuted. The importance of this report is in presenting sucessful alternatives to pesticides.

Are Neonicotinoids hurting wild insects and the birds that eat them? (Jan. 12, 2014. Trevor Herriot's Grass Notes). Good overview of the problem and great links.

Antimicrobials Alter Stream Communities and Lead to Resistance, Study Finds (Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2013) Exposure to triclosan caused severe declines in the diversity of bacteria along the stream floor and changes to the overall community. Additionally, researchers found triclosan changed abundance of cyanobacterial sequence by almost six times, resulting in a “dramatic die off of algae.”  Algae are a lot more sensitive than previously thought.

Third Time in Three Years – Pesticides Believed to be Cause of Fish Kills in Canada (Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2013)

Connecticut Passes Law to Curb Pesticide Use to Save Lobsters (Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2013).Declines in Long Island  Sound’s lobster population have been alarmingly common for the past 15 years, devastating fishermen and the local economy that depends on them. Methoprene and resmethrin accumulate in sediments in the sea and kills lobsters. In the summer 2012, both  chemicals were detected in lobster tissue . This law will ban their use for mosquito control in coastal areas. 

The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Birds. by Dr. Pierre Mineau and Cynthia Palmer. American Bird Conservancy, March 2013. Extensive section water contamination and toxicity to aquatic organisms. 

. Mason and colleagues (2013) postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids.

Deltamethrin Approved for New Brunswick Salmon Fisheries   (Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2010) In an effort to control sea lice in farmed Atlantic salmon Health Canada has approved a request by the province of New Brunswick to use the pesticide Alphamax, whose active ingredient is deltamethrin. The high concentrations of salmon in aquaculture facilities has lead to major problems with sea lice...  Many local fishermen concerned about the effects the pesticide will have on fish and shellfish populations… They have been using other chemicals to control the outbreaks, includinghydrogen peroxide, Salmosan (azamethiphos), SLICE (emamectin benzoate) and Calicide (teflubenzuron). Glenn Brown, owner of the Grand Manan Company Admiral Fish Farms Ltd. explained, “What we’d really like is a suite of tools we could use in a strategic way.” Unfortunantly pesticides that kill sea lice also kill lobster explained Ms. Sonnenberg… Environment Canada is currently investigating the illegal use of another synthetic pyrethroid cypermethrin.Cypermethrin is not permitted for use in Canada but is used to control sea lice in salmon farms in Maine. Cypermethrinhas been linked to lobster deaths in waters around New England and Canada. According to Matthew Abbot, coordinator of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Fundy Baykeeper Project, putting anything into the water that kills sea creatures is a violation of Canada’s Fisheries Act. He suggests controlling sea lice simply by limiting the number of salmon in cages.

Pyrethroid Pesticides in Streams Found Toxic to Indicator Species (Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2010) Pyrethroids, among the most widely-used home pesticides, are winding up in California rivers at levels toxic to some stream-dwellers, possibly endangering the food supply of fish and other aquatic animals... The main sources appear to be readily available insecticides applied around the home...Pyrethroids were present in urban runoff and in effluent from sewage treatment plants... Farm runoff, however, only occasionally contained pyrethroids at toxic levels, although some agricultural runoff did contain toxic levels of organophosphate insecticides…A study from 2009 also found home pesticide use to be a significant contributor to water pollution leading to fish kills and loss of aquatic species diversity...Organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides were found in all water samples taken over a two year period... In addition, a study published in 2008 found pyrethroid contamination in 100 percent of urban streams sampled.

Ecosystem Health: Pesticide Use from Forest Management Practices Threatens Essential West Coast Marine Organisms    (Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2021) A Portland State University (PSU) study finds that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon state coast. Bivalves are excellent indicator species, signaling environmental contamination through their sedimentary, filter-feeding diet. However, continuous pesticide inputs—from various forestry management regimes—into watersheds along Oregon’s coastal zone endanger these species in downstream rivers and estuaries (river mouths).... The study results detect 12 different chemical compounds (two herbicides, three fungicides, and seven insecticides) in both water and bivalve samples—five of which are current-use pesticides in forest management. Although pesticide concentration and type vary by season, organism, and watershed location, 38 percent of bivalve samples harbor pesticide concentrations high enough to accumulate in tissuesIndaziflam (a current-use herbicide in Oregon forestry) is present in seven percent of bivalve samples. Furthermore, water samples find current-use herbicides hexazinone and atrazine, and banned pesticides like DDT/DDE contribute to aquatic contamination downstream. The study uncovers that most contamination occurs along the Central Oregon Coast in the Siuslaw and Smith watersheds       Additionally, coastal and offshore aquaculture (farming of aquatic organisms) presents a new, looming threat to marine health. Namely, the use of antibiotics and pesticides on local marine ecosystems (e.g., insecticides to control sea lice in farmed salmon) results in coastal habitat loss and genetic and health risks to wild marine populations.   SNAP Comment: As of 23 March 2021, 7 Indaziflam products are registered in Canada, most for orchards and one for non residential/non-crop areas which includes railroads and utilities but not specifically forestry. 5 Hexazinone products with 3 used for alfalfa and blueberries, and 2 for woodland management and Christmas tree plantations, and 12 Atrazine labels which seem to be for use mostly in corn and agriculture. I suspect that extensive water testing in Canada would indicate the presence of many pesticides that likely could accumulate in bivalves and other aquatic organisms. If these particular products were found, the source would likely be agricultural and not forestry. 

filed under Wildlife/ aquatic organisms and forestry


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also see rodenticides

Ecological Mystery Unravels, With Toxic Pesticide Use at the Center   (Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2021) Earlier this year, a team of scientists solved an ecological mystery that had persisted for decades. Throughout the southeastern United States, bald eagles and other top-level avian predators were experiencing mass deaths from a disease known as vacuolar myelinopathy (VM), a neurological ailment that causes lesions in affected animal’s brains. Now, scientists have determined that the chemical bromine, likely introduced by brominated herbicides in attempts to manage the invasive species, is the trigger for the production of the cyanobacteria’s neurotoxin... Most sources of bromine in a freshwater ecosystem are likely to be added by humans.   The use of a bromide-based product, intended to kill a plant that harbors a bacterium that, in the presence of bromine, produces a lethal neurotoxin is far beyond the scope of any risk assessment conducted by pesticide regulatory agencies.'   SNAP Comment: There are 29 diquat pesticides registered in Canada as of 30 May 2021 but apparently no diquat dibromide.or bistribromide.Diquat ion is considered by PAN as highly hazardous pesticide. . 

Study Finds Eagle Populations Experiencing Widespread Rodenticide Exposure    (Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2021) 'The vast majority of bald and golden eagles in the United States are contaminated with toxic anticoagulant rodenticides, according to research published in the journal PLOS One earlier this month.   Prior studies have deemed anticoagulant rodenticides “super-predators” in ecosystems for the widespread damage that can result from their use. This is because rodents that eat these chemicals, often contained in toxic baits, do not die immediately. While a rodent is likely to die from this poison, ingesting it also turns it into a sort of poison trojan horse for any predator that may take advantage of its slow decline. An eagle that eats a poisoned rodent at the edge of death will be the next to succumb to the anticoagulant effects of the chemical.   The second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide brodifacoum was the most detected compound in sampled eagles.

Hummingbirds Harmed by Pesticides Killing Off Bees, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators   (Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2021)  'Well known for their nectar-fueled hovering flight powered by wings beating over 50 times per second, hummingbirds display unique reactions to toxic pesticides. Research by scientists at the University of Toronto finds that hummingbirds exposed to systemic neonicotinoid insecticides for even a short period of time can disrupt the high-powered metabolism of this important and charismatic animal.  Given their high energy demands and with such razor thin margins for error, neonicotinoids may significantly damage hummingbird’s fitness in the wild.' 

The Insect Apocalypse Moves Up the Food Chain: American Bird Populations in Rapid Decline Due to Pesticide Use     (Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2020) 'Ongoing declines in bird population and diversity are being accelerated by the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, according to research published in Nature Sustainability earlier this month.    Using these models, researchers determined that for every 100kg (220 lbs) increase in the use of any neonicotinoid within a US county, grassland bird populations subsequently decrease by 2.2%, and 1.4% of non-grassland birds die-off. Similarly, 1.6% insect-eating birds are lost, and 1.5% of non-insectivorous species are killed off. Species richness, the number of different bird species in a given area, and species evenness, determined by the relative abundance of different species, also decline as neonicotinoid use increases.   The study acts as a culmination of several threads of ongoing research into the impacts of neonicotinoids on bird populations.'

Farmland Birds’ Exposure to Neonicotinoid-Treated Seeds (during Winter Seeding) Confirmed by Blood Plasma Tests   (Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2020)  'At the time of this study, clothianidin was the most widely used pesticide on treated winter cereal seeds in the UK.  Thirty-two percent of all surveyed bird species suffered CLO exposure with 15 species of bird consuming CLO-treated seeds, in situ. Researchers detected CLO in 50% of individual blood plasma samples in 10 out of 11 avian species. This study demonstrates the highest logged clothianidin exposure levels for wild birds, thus far.   This study demonstrates that clothianidin toxicity is above foraging birds’ threshold for the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL).' 

Dead Bird Nests Contain 36 Different Pesticides, Including DDT ( Annie Kin, https://achnews.org, 16 September , 2019) '“We found a total of 36 different pesticides in 95 mesh nests,” Geert Gommers, a pesticide expert said in a statement.' European study of blue Tit babies in nests. Link to original paper. 


Meet pesticides, the silent bird killers that protect our crops (BirdLife International, 9 February 2016)  An article that is still very relevant. Story from Europe and SE Asia. special pesticides called avicides have been developed especially to kill problem birds, they get poisoned from eating treated seeds, many raptors get poisoned from eating poisoned carcasses for other predators such as coyotes. Refers to one study from the Convention on Migratory Species (2014) estimating that pesticides accidentally kill between 0.25 and 8.9 birds per hectare of agricultural area each year. 

Are Neonicotinoids really just the new DDT?  (by Stephen Leahy, DecafNation, Jan 15, 2019)  'In a new study published in the science journal Nature, Dutch researchers linked the steady decline of warblers, skylarks, sparrows, and starlings and other birds to the introduction of imidacloprid, the most commonly used neonicotinoid, in the late 1990s. Regions with the heaviest levels of this nerve poison in soil and water had the biggest declines in bird numbers that eat and rely on insects during the breeding season.'   “Instead of wiping out the top of the food chain, killing hawks and eagles as DDT did, neonics are wiping out the bottom of the food chain,” says Hendrickson.' Plus Canadian product names and statistics, quotes from more studies and regulations.

Study Finds Neonics Result in the Silent Demise of Songbirds  (Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2019)    'Within six hours, both the ‘low’ and ‘high’ exposure group showed a significant reduction in body mass (3% and 6%, respectively) after a single dose of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. The ‘low’ exposure group ate 8% less than the control group after dosing, while the ‘high’ exposure group reduced its intake by a staggering 70%. This is an important impact because body weight and fat storage are critical during songbird migration. Birds rest at stopover sites to refuel, and return to flight, but birds in the experiment dosed with imidacloprid stayed on average 3.5 days longer than the unexposed control group.' see also Bee-harming pesticides make migrating songbirds sick too, study shows (CBC, Sep 12, 2019) and Study Finds Three Billion Birds Lost Since 1970: “Early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song”  (Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2019) This study was widely covered, even in the regular press. 

Insect Freefall: What Does It Mean For Birds?(Howard Youth, American Bird Conservancy, August 29, 2019)    "Today, the world's most widely used agricultural pesticides are neonicotinoids, neurotoxins absorbed and stored in plant tissues so they repel insect pests. Neonics, as they are also known, are now banned in the European Union because of their impact on honeybees. A number of U.S. states have also introduced legislation attempting to prohibit or limit their use.  Persistent and water-solubleneonics are highly toxic to a broad range of insects and other invertebrates. And they reach well beyond farm fields, leaching into watersheds, rising up in dust, and soaking into soil adjacent to farms, toxifying insect food plants there. Neonics' impact on nontarget terrestrial and aquatic insects is formidable, and long-lasting as well. Depending upon soil and other factors, neonics have half-lives — the time it takes to reduce an amount of the pesticide by half — of up to 1,000 days, or nearly three years.   Although these insecticides are considered less dangerous to many vertebrates than are other pesticides, an ABC study in 2013 determined that a single neonic-coated seed can kill a bird the size of a Blue Jay."   SNAP Comment: not  ALL neonics are not banned in Europe, and only 3 will be taken out of "agricultural use* in Canada but, I believe, still allowed other uses)

Same Pesticides that Are Killing Bees Killed Off Dozens of Goldfinches in Modesto, CA, Study Finds  (Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2019)   'A March 2017 bird kill incident in Modesto, CA can be traced directly back to an insecticide “soil drench” applied to the base of several elm trees by pesticide applicators hired by the city... Researchers autopsied the birds, finding elm seeds and detectable levels of imidacloprid in the gizzard contents (between 2.2-8.5 ppm) and liver tissue (between 2.1-4.8 ppm) of the affected goldfinches, consistent with the presence of imidacloprid on elm seeds found around soil drenched trees....The City of Modesto indicates that applicators followed the label correctly. Consequently, this incident points to a serious, but not unexpected, shortfall in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of toxic pesticides.

California scientists consider case of poisoned songbirds  (Brooks Hays, UPI, Science News, June 27, 2019)   The neonicotinoid imidacloprid was used as a drench according to label.

Banned pesticide implicated in 2016 bald eagle poisoning (Dorchester Banner, Jun 29th, 2019)   This US story illustrates a major problem with pesticide regulation. Carbofuran (trade name Furedan) has also been banned in Canada for a while. Unfortunately, in Canada, when a product is federally banned, it is only from sale, not use. Products can be banned from use by provinces, and/or municipalities when there are no pre-emption laws. In fact, pesticide companies usually have sales of the pesticide before the last legal sale date or donate products to groups. A New York area activist mentioned that, after chlorpyrifos was banned in schools, stocks were donated or sold to those looking after school grounds. (Organizing for Local Policy Changes, Beyond Pesticides conference 2019) Somewhat defeating the purpose to protect children, isn't it?  Also filed under legislation/regulatory

Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides (The Guardian, 21 March 2018)   Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, because insects they feed on have disappeared. 'The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.'

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds    'Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them.'  About U. of S Christy Morrissey, a wildlife ecotoxicologist  and her work on neonicotinoids' effects on aquatic organisms and birds.

Hummingbirds and bumble bees exposed to neonicotinoid and organophosphate insecticides in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada  (Christine A. Bishop et al., Environmental Toxicology, 05 July 2018)  free access journal.  "the combined concentration of the neonicotinoid insecticides imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin detected in hummingbird cloacal fluid from sites near conventionally sprayed blueberry fields was 3.63 ng/mL (ppb). Only piperonyl butoxyde was detected in fecal pellets. Only diazinon was detected in bumble bees (0.197 ng/g), whereas diazinon (1.54–1.7 ng/g) and imidacloprid (up to 18.4 ng/g) were detected in pollen collected from bumble bees"

'On life support:' Research shows common pesticides starve, disorient birds  (National Post, 9 November 2017) SNAP Comment: Another great study from Christy Morrissey at University of Saskatchewan.Low dose studies are typically not required for pesticide registration, and neither are behavioral studies. Looks like she is now on the radar of CropLife Canada. I wish her the best!    "Morrissey studied the effect of two widely used pesticide types — neonicotinoids and organophosphates. Both are used on more than 100 different crops, including wheat and canola, and are found in dozens of commercial products. Both are known to be lethal to birds in large doses, but Morrissey wanted to study the impact of smaller amounts. The results were dramatic. After three days, the low-dose birds lost 17 per cent of their weight. The high-dose birds lost 25 per cent.   The birds exposed to organophosphates kept their weight, but they lost something else — their ability to find northBoth the high-dose and low-dose group lost all orientation and didn’t get it back after the tests ended. The neonics also disoriented the sparrows, but the effect faded when the exposure stopped.

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds  (Elizabeth Royte, Audubon, Spring 2017)      Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them. In Canada, neonics are used on 44 percent of cropland, including some 21 million acres of canola, the nation’s second-most-cultivated crop. But their delivery system has a major flaw. “Only about 5 percent of the compound is taken up by the plant,” Morrissey says. The rest leaches off the seed, accumulates in soil, and sluices via snowmelt, rain, and groundwater seepage into ponds and wetlands, where insects like midges and caddis flies—a staple for billions of grassland birds—start their lives. All about the research of Christy Morrissey, a wildlife ecotoxicologist at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.  With a small army of students, Morrissey designed a Hydra-like research program that is exploring, piece by piece, how neonics move from farm fields to waterways, how they affect the invertebrates that live there, and how these aquatic insects—their abundance, diversity, and health—in turn affect birds.

Pesticide ban: New evidence shows 'strong case' for ban on chemicals linked to bird and bee deaths   (Ian Johnston,  Independent, 11 January 2017)  ...one study found red-legged partridges fed seeds treated with one neonic died within days. Other researchers found house sparrows became “uncoordinated and unable to fly” and Japanese quail suffered DNA damage after being exposed to the pesticides. “Whatever shape Brexit will take, this is an early test of whether the UK government is willing to stand up for nature and the common good in the face of heavy lobbying from corporations and vested interests.”SNAP comment: Neonics started as seed coatings but their use has extended to sprays over the years on more and more crops. Canada is currently reviewing one neonicotinoidimidaclopridConsultation on Imidacloprid, Proposed Re-evaluation Decision PRVD2016-20

Mosquito spray affects bird reproduction (Nature, 15 June 2010) doi:10.1038/news.2010.296, Natasha Gilbert) House martin numbers hit by 'environmentally friendly' insect control. The effect of Bacillus thuringensis israelensis on House Martins ( a European swallow) is indirect. It is apparently so effective at reducing mosquito populations that birds had to switch food source to ants which are seemingly less nutritious.

Pesticide Blamed for Deaths of Hundreds of Wild Birds (Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2014) As many as 700 birds have been found dead in a wildlife reserve in New South Wales, Australia. Preliminary tests reveal the pesticide, fenthion. Certain uses of fenthion for home

Not Just the Bees: Bayer's Pesticide May Harm Birds, TooBy Tom Philpott. Mother Jones. Wed Mar. 27, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

Pesticide Acute Toxicity Is a Better Correlate of U.S. Grassland Bird Declines than Agricultural IntensificationPierre Mineau, Mélanie Whiteside ( Environment Canada)  on PLOS ONE (eISSN-1932-6203) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.

The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Birds. by Dr. Pierre Mineau and Cynthia Palmer. American Bird Conservancy, March 2013. 'However, based on chronic/reproduction endpoints, all seed treatments are predicted to cause effects given the very small number of seeds needing to be ingested to push birds into critical range.’ (less than 1 kernel of corn, 1.46 to 15.83 canola seeds and 1.28 to10.55 kernels of wheat respectively for imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, clothianidin having middle values). Mason and colleagues (2013) postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids.

More on neonicotinoids at http://www.snapinfo.ca/issues/bee-die-off,  http://www.snapinfo.ca/info/fact-sheets and water/Saskatchewan

Endangered Species

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also see glyphosate, wildlife/mammals

Ubiquitous Herbicide Glyphosate/Roundup Threatens Nearly All Endangered Species, Says EPA   (Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2020) From the 'release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) draft biological evaluation (BE) of glyphosate. The assessment indicates that use of this ubiquitous herbicide likely threatens nearly every animal and plant species on the U.S. list of threatened and endangered species — 93% of them, in fact. “No NE (No Effect) determinations were made for any species or designated critical habitats; therefore, all species received a MA ( May Affect) determination.” Thus, all species and habitats underwent the second step: NLAA (Not Likely to Adversely Affect) determinations were made for 119 species and 33 species’ critical habitats, and LAA (Likely to Adversely Affect) determinations were made for 1,676 species and 759 critical habitats. For the LAAs, 96% of species and 97% of habitats had moderate evidence; strongest evidence was found for less than 1% of both species and habitats; and weakest evidence was found for 4% of species and 3% of critical habitats. The review (of glyphosate) began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the environment in that time period.” More specifically, plaintiffs charged EPA with bias, ignoring and using incomplete scientific data, and delay in finishing “any assessment of glyphosate’s impacts on thousands of potentially harmed endangered species, delaying it until a future decision.”  As of the January 2020 interim decision, what remained to be completed before a final reregistration decision were evaluations of (1) the risks of glyphosate exposure to endangered species, and (2) screenings for endocrine system impacts. This biological evaluation goes to the first of those outstanding items..

Endangered Wildlife Are Getting Dosed With Rat Poisons  Products marketed to kill rodents are instead threatening the lives of the wildlife that eat them as poisons travel up the food chain. ( by Tara Lohan, The Revelator, 25 February, 2019)   California story but it could be the one of many states. your marihuana use may be responsible for poisoning animals.  'And in most cases, poisons simply aren’t needed to solve a problem, they’re just easier. “I’m amazed at just how quickly people jump to poison as a solution to a nuisance problem,” she says.'  We do sell rodenticides in Canada including at least the first and second generation ones. I believe many are labeled for domestic use meaning they can be purchased and used by anyone. Since the SaskParty was re-elected they made rodenticides legal and available to farmers in some districts for 'gopher' control. The City of Regina and Wascana are using some in indoor facilities for mice and outdoors for 'gophers' (Richardson ground squirrel). The City apparently uses rodenticides responsibly in springtime by setting it inside burrows and removing dead animals every day although I don't know what they do with them (the dump? although there seems to be little evidence of gull or raven mortality). Wascana has banned use by the public on their property (i.e.for instance the community garden) with good reason as some people used them inappropriately and dogs were poisoned. I am sure some wildlife is poisoned by rodenticides in SK, but don't have numbers. perhaps Jan Shadick can help with an answer. Any research in SK is hampered by the lack of pesticide sales data.  I don't have a page on rodenticides in particular but they are by no means the only pesticides affecting wildlife, pets or people.

EPA Finds Widely Used Pesticides Could Harm 97 Percent of Endangered Species (Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2017) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  released its final Biological Evaluations of Three Chemicals’ Impacts on Endangered Species, which finds that chlorpyrifos and malathion likely have detrimental effect on 97 percent of all species listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), while diazinon adversely affects 78 percent. According to EPA’s release on the subject, this is the “first-ever draft biological evaluations analyzing the nation-wide effects” of these registered chemicals on endangered species after decades of widespread use. The evaluations stem from a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in which CBD sued EPA in April 2014 for its failure to comply with ESA, which requires the agency to carry out consultations with federal wildlife agencies while registering pesticides...According to Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a CBD senior scientist, “We’re now getting a much more complete picture of the risks that pesticides pose to wildlife at the brink of extinction, including birds, frogs, fish and plantsSNAP Comment:  As of this writing, there are still 8 registered diazinon, 23 malathion including 8 for domestic use i.e.sold to regular consumers) and 29 chlorpyrifos formulations registered in Canada. Not only are these 3 organophosphates used in agriculture, but chlorpyrifos is still used in Edmonton for mosquito control and is the active ingredient in 2 domestic bait formulations. Malathion is still used in fogging for mosquito, for instance by the town of Eastend in Saskatchewan, and widely in the United States and through the world. When West Nile virus came to New York, an analysis of dead birds found many more dead of pesticide poisoning than West NIle. Documents Reveal that Interior Nominee Censored Endangered Species Assessment of Organophosphates  (Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2019) 'A set of documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that the Trump administration has known for over a year – and actively concealed – that the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos jeopardizes the existence of 1,399 endangered species. Top officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior, including Acting Secretary David Bernhardt, were privy to and prevented the release of a “biological opinion,” completed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 2017, which contains a full analysis of the extensive environmental impacts wrought by three organophosphate insecticides'. Malathion and diazinon also jeopardize endangered species. The effects of all three are cumulative because they have the same mechanism of action. 'The FWS opinion, a compilation of nearly four years of rigorous scientific review, was not just a routine assessment; rather, it was the outcome of a legal settlement with CBD, which required EPA and FWS to make such assessments public by the end of 2017. In April of 2017, Dow AgroSciences directly requested that the agencies abandon the assessment.'.

EPA Finds 97% of Endangered Species Threatened by Common Pesticides (Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2016)  The determination is part of a settlement reached by EPA and the Center for Biological Diversity, which requires the agency to complete a review of the impact of organophosphate pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon by December 2017, and two carbamate class pesticides, methomyl and carbaryl, by the end of 2018.


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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Deprive Fish of Food in Lake Shinji, Japan  (Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2019)  '90% drop in their (fish) yield. Eel catches dropped by 74%. New research, published in the journal Science, implicates the introduction of neonicotinoids to the abutting watershed in the decimation of these aquatic populations, stating, “In Lake Shinji, neonicotinoids indirectly reduced fishery yields by decreasing the abundance of invertebrates that serve as food for smelt and eels.”  see also   Controversial Pesticides Are Suspected Of Starving Fish ( Ron Charles, PBS, November 2, 2019)  Japanese story about neonicotinoids. The only fish thriving in the lake eats algae as well as invertebrates. Indirect effects.

Frogs and other Amphibians

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also see glyphosate and atrazine

The abiliy of several registered pesticides to decrease immunity and make animals (and plants) susceptible to disease has been known for some time, at least since they found over 20 years ago that amphibians exposed to DDT in Ontario (including in Point Pelee National Park) were much more susceptible to disease. This is reiterated in Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Second Edition, (2010) edited by Donald W. Sparling, Greg Linder, Christine A. Bishop, Sherry Krest, p 281. I guess it took bees to bring it to the general public and most researchers' attention. 

Aminomethylphosphonic acid alters amphibian embryonic development at environmental concentrations  (Environmental Research, Volume 190, November 2020, MarionCheron,FrançoisBrischoux)   Environmentally relevant concentrations of AMPA (the main metabolite of glyphosate) have been found to affect embryonic survival, development duration and hatchling morphology in spined toads. Non-linear concentration response patterns were likely to occur at low concentrations, meaning that the effect did not increase with the dose – greater effects were found at low concentrations of AMPA than higher levels. The study concluded that regulatory decision-making needs to go beyond the use of high-dose studies to identify official no-effect concentrations.'     'Our experimental concentrations of AMPA were 100–6000 times lower than official Predicted-No-Effect-Concentrations. We found that these low-level concentrations of AMPA decreased embryonic survival, increased development duration and influenced hatchling morphology.'

filed under Wildlife/amphibians 

Pesticides in the real world: The consequences of GMO-based intensive agriculture on native amphibians  (M. Gabriela Agostinia et al, Biological Conservation, Vol. 241, Jan. 2020, 108355)   ' ...we evaluated the effects (survival and mobility) of common pesticides applied by farmers (cypermethrinchlorpyrifosendosulfanglyphosate, and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) on tadpoles. We assessed these effects in four common amphibian species from South America across 91 ponds located in the Pampas of central Argentina.'

  • Tadpole survival dramatically decreased after pesticides reached the ponds.
  • 93% of surviving tadpoles exposed to insecticides, exhibited impairment of mobility.
  • Glyphosate exposures caused sublethal effects, reducing tadpole mobility in 79%.
  • We detected pesticide impacts on amphibians in real exposure scenarios.

Neonicotinoids Found to Change Frog Behavior  Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2018)  In a study published late last month, scientists from the National Wildlife Research Center in Ottawa, Canada found that chronic exposure to real-world levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid limits the ability of juvenile wood frogs to escape a predator attack.

Literature review of impacts of glyphosate herbicide on amphibians: What risks can the silvicultural use of this herbicide pose for amphibians in B.C.?  by  Purnima P. Govindarajulu, Ph.D. includes an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. "the expected environmental concentration (EEC) of glyphosate herbicides of 1.43 mg a.e./L is at or above the estimated LC50 (lethal dose kiling 50% of the study animals) value for some amphibians." Many serious sublethal effects are known to occur well below this concentration. Indirect impacts also occur...The formulant POEA appears more toxic to amphibians. Alternative formulations that do not use POEA are now available in some parts of the world (but not in Canada) and these formulations have been shown to have much lower toxicity to amphibians. There is insufficient information on the levels of glyphosate contamination in small ephemeral wetlands, which are favoured habitats of amphibians, and which may be exposed to direct overspraying with herbicide under current use guidelines."  also filed under fact sheets/ glyphosate 

Glyphosate Stresses Tadpoles to Produce More Venom  (Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2017)  Scientists tested the effects of formulated glyphosate products on toad tadpoles through experiments in a laboratory setting, as well as a mesocosm, a controlled outdoor environment that replicates natural conditions. This is not the first instance of glyphosate altering the normal development of amphibians. Earlier this year, the same team of researchers found that glyphosate products reduced the survival and growth of common toads, and otherwise slowed down their development. A 2012 study from the University of Pittsburg found that glyphosate induced morphological changes in the development of leopard and wood frogs similar to those seen under significant predatory threat. The results of accumulated scientific research on stress-induced changes following glyphosate exposure points to underlying flaws in U.S. regulation of pesticides. Ecosystem-wide impacts caused by the secondary effects of pesticide use are rarely, if ever, considered under the risk assessment framework used to register pesticides.

Report Links Pesticide Exposure to Globally Declining Amphibian Population 3/8/2013 12:02:41 PM By Victoria Pitcher. Link to full scientific report. Effects were not restricted to a specific class of pesticides and seem to be influenced not only by the active substance but also the formulation additives  The commercially available Headline formulation caused 100% mortality just after 1 h at the label rate.

Pesticides Contaminate Frogs in California National Parks (Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2013) 98 types of pesticides were tested for, traces of which were found in frog tissues from all sites. Two fungicides, pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole, and one herbicide, simazine, were the most frequently detected compound. This was the first time these compounds have ever been reported in wild frog tissues. As of August 2013, in Canada, there are 23 pyraclostrobin,  21 tebuconazole and 6 simazine products registered. While simazine is less likely to be used on a large scale in Saskatchewan, it has one domestic formulation (LATER'S CALCIDE LIQUID VEGETATION KILLER) for weeds on hard surfaces and along fences. 

Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'.(24 January 2013. The Guardian - environment} New research suggests the chemicals are playing a significant and previously unknown role in the global decline of amphibians. Most striking results fungicides pyraclostrobin (BASF) and Captan killing all the test animals within an hour when applied at the recommended rate, and several products including the insecticide dimethoate (Cygon),used at 10% concentration killing 40% of animals within a week.The Headline formulation containing more of the formulant naphta was much more lethal. As of February 2012, 20 pyraclostrobin including 4 called Headline and dimethoate products are registered in Canada. No formulant is currently listed on any Headline label. (original article published  in Scientific Reports)


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also see Bee Die-Off and /edcational, neonicotinoids, atrazine, pyrethrinsinerts/formulants, glyphosateImmune/Infections

Global Review Identifies Key Drivers of Pollinator Decline, Threat for Humanity   (Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2021)  'Overall, land cover, land management, and pesticide use are identified as ‘very important’ or ‘important’ drivers of pollinator declines in nearly every geographic region of the world. While climate change is also identified as such, experts do not have as much confidence in its importance when compared to other factors putting pollinators at risk. Pests and pathogens are identified as very important risks in North America and Latin America, and generally rank above concerns over pollinator management and invasive species. Genetically engineered cropping systems are identified as a lower threat in most regions of the world, but very important threat in Latin America, where hazards are identified due to high use of glyphosate resistant crops and subsequent data on the dangers of that chemical to pollinators.'

Typical Neonicotinoid Insecticides at Any Level Likely to Kill Off Wild Pollinators   (Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2021) 'Neonicotinoid insecticides applied to nursery plants sold at garden centers kill off wild, solitary pollinators regardless of the amount applied, according to research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B....  Although not recorded in the study, a press release published by University of California, Riverside indicates that the first time the experiment was tried, researchers used the EPA recommended label concentration of the product, and all bees died within a few short days.  At the significantly lower rate, scientists found that high irrigation watering reduced the amount of imidacloprid detected in plant nectar. Nonetheless, researchers observed the same harmful effects on leafcutter bes as the group exposed to lower amounts of irrigation.'

Death of as Many as 107,000 Bumblebees from Neonicotinoid Insecticides Studied    (Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2021) Recently published research reviews the 2013 Wilsonville, Oregon mass bumblebee die-off from application of the neonicotinoid dinotefuran on 55 linden trees in a big-box-store parking lot. In that single event, the research paper (published in Environmental Entomology) estimates between 45,830 and 107,470 bumblebees from some 289–596 colonies were killed. Reporting on the new study, by Entomology Today, quotes primary conclusions of the co-authors: “Our study underscores the lethal impact of the neonicotinoid pesticide dinotefuran on pollinating insect populations,” and, “It is likely that the vast majority of mass pesticide kills of beneficial insects across other environments go unnoticed and unreported.”   SNAP Comment: As of 26 July 3032, there are 7 dinotefuran products registered in Canada by the PMRA for dogs and cats, outdoor spraying of some external structures and as a cockroach gel.

Conservation Genomics Pinpoint Pesticides and Pathogens in Decline of Bumblebees   (Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2021) Bumblebees exposed to pesticides and pathogens display changes in gene expression that can be pinpointed and analyzed by cutting edge research tools “We’re looking directly at bee tissues  to try and get clues to the stressors that are affecting this bee. I think this is a gamechanger for sure. With a single study, we are able to implicate a couple of really obvious things we’ve talked about for years – pathogens and pesticides – in the case of Bombus terricola.”  says study coauthor Amro Zayed, PhD.  'Researchers discovered 61 differentially expressed genes, including those involved in detoxification, as well as those associated with neurodegenerative disorders and immune response. ..Bumblebees display gene expressions that are associated with exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, fipronil, and a range of pathogens, including deformed wing virus and sacbrood virus.... A 2015 report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council found, “Several studies have demonstrated synergistic effects of neonicotinoid residues with bee parasites and viruses.' 

Glyphosate Raises Malaria Risk through Damage to Insect Immune Systems – New Study   (Sustainable Pulse, May 14 2021) with link to study.   'Melanin works in insect immunity essentially by trapping and killing an invading bacterium, fungal cell, or parasite. Melanin production rises in response to the infection, and in a process called melanization, melanin molecules surround the invading pathogen—while highly reactive molecules produced as part of the melanin-synthesis process, effectively destroy the invader. ...the researchers found that in A. gambiae mosquitoes, glyphosate inhibits melanin production and melanization, and thereby makes the mosquitoes more susceptible to infection by Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous species of malaria parasite. They found too that glyphosate alters the composition of the bacterial and fungal population in the mosquito midgut—the “gut microbiome” that, as in humans, helps regulate mosquito health.

The main ingredient in RoundUp doesn’t just kill plants. It harms beetles, too.    Glyphosate seems to interrupt a key symbiotic relationship in sawtooth grain beetles.   (Philip Kieffer, Popular Science, May 13, 2021)    'But sawtooth grain beetles rely on a symbiotic relationship with a particular type of (unnamed) bacteria to build their shells. That bacteria in turn uses the shikimate pathway to manufacture the raw building blocks the beetles need.  Glyphosate appears to kill off those partners. After exposure to the chemical, the beetles make softer, weaker shells. It doesn’t kill them outright, but it leaves them more vulnerable. “They are doing way worse,” Engl says. “Their cuticle is thinner, and this is creating a higher risk of desiccation and higher mortality.”    The sawtoothed grain beetle is a crop pest, but Engl says it’s a model for all kinds of other beetles, which constitute about a quarter of all known animal species. “The beetle is generally used by us to understand the associations between insects, their microbial partners, and their ecological importance, so it’s a proxy for many insects,” Engl says.'

“No Pollinator is Safe” — New Evidence of Neonicotinoids Harming Wild, Ground Nesting Bees   (Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2021) 'A new study is making it increasingly clear that current laws are not protecting wild, ground nesting bees from the hazards of neonicotinoid insecticides.... Blue Orchard Mason Bees (Osima spp) are at particular risk from pesticide-contaminated soil they use to create their nest. '

Bee Protective Habitat Guide (Beyond Pesticides) explains the role pesticides play in pollinator decline. Gives a list of pollinator-friendly plants, several of which may not be native to the area you live in. Rather than bringing in a potential invasive, look for similar native species. 

Roundup Shown to Kill Bees—But Not How You Might Expect  (Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2021) 'Roundup products manufactured by Bayer-Monsanto kill exposed bumblebees at high rates, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, which points to undisclosed inert ingredients (those that typically make up a majority of the product formulation) as the primary culprit.Bumblebees sprayed with consumer use Roundup Ready-To-Use (contains glyphosate) experienced a shocking 94% mortality. Subsequent experiments were conducted at lower application rates for that product, and significant mortality was seen for the 1:1 dilution (98% mortality) as well as the 1:3 dilution rate (78% mortality). The agricultural use Roundup Proactive (contains glyphosate) saw lower rates of death at 30%. Weedol, a glyphosate-based consumer product, displayed a mortality rate (6%) similar to the unexposed control group of bumblebees (4%). However, Roundup Speed Ultra' (containing acetic acid and no glyphosate) 'was found to kill 96% of exposed pollinators.'. SNAP Comment: Interesting that the UK formulation containing acetic acid andno glyphosate was so toxic as this is considered an alternative product. On a glyphosate label search on 20 April 2021, thereare 195 glyphosate products registered as pesticides in Canada. (also registered as an antibiotic- I haven't searched that or other possible uses). The issue with undisclosed inerts, called formulants in Canada, is the same as in the US. There have been many unsuccessful efforts over decades in making them public.

Solitary Wild Bees Harmed by Neonicotinoid Pesticides Applied by Soil Drenching  (Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2021) 'Populations of solitary ground nesting bees decline after exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, according to a study published in Scientific Reports late last month. In addition to ground-nesting bees, neonicotinoids have been shown to harm butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, aquatic species and mammals, including human,.. Squash seeds were treated with the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam, the neonicotinoid imidacloprid was applied as a soil drench, and chlorantraniliprole was sprayed on plant foliage. A fourth group of hoop houses did not have a pesticide applied in order to act as a control.   Results show that the soil drench (imidacloprid) presents significant hazards to ground nesting bees. Hoary squash bees in this group initiated 85% fewer nests, harvested 5 times less pollen, and produced 89% fewer offspring than the untreated control group... Whatever the etiology of the deleterious effects observed, study authors are certain that their data points to unacceptable hazards from the use of imidacloprid.' 

Combination of Pesticide Exposure, Limited Food Lead to Wild Bee Declines    (Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2020) 'The additive stress of pesticide exposure and food scarcity leads to significant declines in wild pollinator populations, according to research published by scientists at University of California, Davis.  Scientists found significant impacts on the factors that deal with mason bees’ reproductive success. This includes the likelihood that a female will nest, the number of offspring a female will produce, and the ratio of male to female offspring.Taken alone, female mason bees exposed to Admire Pro (imidacloprid) were 10% less likely to nest, and when they did, produced 42% fewer offspring. Those with access to limited food supplies produced 26% fewer offspring than those with abundant resources. These stressors were additive, with pesticide exposure and limited floral resources combining to reduce reproduction by 57%, compared to the unexposed group. The stressors also changed the sex of offspring that were successfully reared.' 

Monarch Massacre: Hundreds of Monarch Butterflies Die After Aerial Mosquito Spraying in North Dakota   (Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2020) It’s being called the Monarch Massacre—hundreds of monarch butterflies found dead after the Vector Control Department of Cass County, North Dakota aerially sprayed the county for mosquito control. This incident occurred during a moment in history that is seeing monarchs at the edge of extinction, with the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico having declined 53% from last year, according to a count conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mexico.

Milkweed in Western Monarch Habitat Found to be Completely Contaminated with Pesticides   (Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2020) 'New research finds that western monarch milkweed habitat contains a “ubiquity of pesticides” that are likely contributing to the decline of the iconic species. The research, published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, provides a grim snapshot of a world awash in pesticides, and raises new questions about the U.S. regulatory process that continues to allow these toxic chemicals on to the market without adequate review and oversight.   From roadsides, from yards, from wildlife refuges, even from plants bought at stores—doesn’t matter from where—it’s all loaded with chemicals. We have previously suggested that pesticides are involved in the decline of low elevation butterflies in California, but the ubiquity and diversity of pesticides we found in these milkweeds was a surprise,” Dr. Forister said.  The researchers collected over 200 milkweed samples from nearly 20 different sites across the Central Valley of California, as well as from retailers that sell milkweed plants to customers. In addition to retail locations, samples were taken at agricultural sites, wildlife refuges, and urban areas. Researchers screened the milkweed samples for 262 different pesticide compounds.     The study documents 64 different pesticides across all samples, including 27 fungicides, 25 insecticides, 11 herbicides, and one pesticide adjuvant (substance mixed with pesticide to enhance performance). Every sample tested positive for at least one pesticide, with an average sample containing roughly nine different compounds in its tissue. Some samples contained as many as 25 different pesticides. Researchers note that, for most of the pesticides detected, there is little to no data on how they impact the health of monarch butterflies.   Of particular note is the insecticide chlorantraniliprole, which, in a study published earlier this year, was found to be toxic to monarchs after drifting from adjacent farmland. Chlorantraniliprole was found in 91% of all samples taken. Further, it exceeded the lethal dose necessary to kill 50% of exposed monarchs (LD50) in 58 of the 227 samples tested in the study.'     SNAP Comment: As of 29 June 2020, there are 10 chlorantraniliprole pesticide products regiatered in Canada, two as seed treatments and one as a termiticide.

One Quarter of Global Insect Population Lost Since 1990  (Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2020) 'Billed as one of the most comprehensive assessments to date, the study finds significant overall insect declines, but notes of some specific bright spots. While variation in the ongoing crisis is to be expected, ultimately the trends in the data show the need for immediate policy and regulatory action to protect the insect world as the foundation of global food webs...  There was little evidence that climate change was playing a role at either local or global scales, however land use and urbanization was found to have moderate associations with declines. The anthropogenic factors with this trend – pesticide use, light pollution, habitat destruction, are massively under-regulated and can be addressed by elected officials...   It is likely that the declines we are seeing in many bird species are closely linked to insect declines. Recent research finds that three billion birds, or 29% of bird abundance has been lost since the 1970s."

Monarch Butterfly Larvae Adversely Affected by Pesticide Drift from Contiguous Soybean and Maize Crop Fields   (Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2020) Pesticide spray drift from adjacent farmlands expose butterfly larvae to lethal pesticide concentrations. ...his study adds weight to the idea that pesticides are playing a role in the ongoing decline of this iconic butterfly, as researchers find insecticide drift from adjacent fields to be strongly associated with larval mortality.    They chose five common active chemical ingredients in foliar insecticides used on soybean and corn crops: beta‚Äźcyfluthrin (pyrethroid), chlorantraniliprole (anthranilic diamide), chlorpyrifos (organophosphate), and imidacloprid and thiamethoxam (neonicotinoids).  Results of the study found that dermal and dietary exposure to beta-cyfluthrin and chlorantraniliprole was most toxic to monarchs, and resulted in high levels of larvae stasis and mortality. Notably, neonicotinoid exposure uniquely halted monarch ecdysis (molting) and pupation from caterpillar to butterfly. ISU researchers estimated the greatest larval mortality to occur 0 to 15 meters (m) downwind of pesticide-treated soybean/maize fields. Aerial pesticide applications extended larval mortality range to 60m downwind of treated fields compared to boom pesticide spray applications.

Monarch Population, Under Threat from Pesticide Use and Habitat Loss, Declines by Half in One Year    (Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2020) The number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico is down 53% from last year, according to a count conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mexico.       Recent studies indicate that even when monarchs can find milkweed plants to lay their eggs, pesticide contamination from chemical intensive agriculture may be undermining their ability to continue their journey. A 2019 study found 14 different agricultural pesticides on milkweed tested near farm fields in Indiana, including the neonicotinoid class of insecticides implicated in the decline of pollinators. Research published late last year finds that monarchs that feed on neonicotinoid-contaminated milkweed experience a significantly shortened lifespan. Most monarchs (79%) exposed to neonicotinoids died within 22 days, while only one in five of those unexposed perished.

Baby Bees’ Brain Growth Adversely Affected by Neonicotinoid Insecticides  (Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2020) This research, however, examines how exposure to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, through consumption of contaminated nectar and pollen during the larval stage, affects bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax). It finds that these exposures cause abnormal brain growth in some parts of the bees’ brains, and significantly impairs learning ability compared to bees who were not exposed....The brains of nearly 100 bees were examined, and the team found that an important part of the bee brain involved with learning — the mushroom body — was smaller in those exposed to the neonics. Smaller mushroom body volume is correlated with poorer performance in learning tasks. Bees fed with contaminated food in the larval stage show significantly impaired learning ability compared to those that are not.'The amount of pesticide residue present inside colonies following exposure appears to be an important measure for assessing the impact on a colony’s health in the future.”'Further, bee larvae have been shown to be vulnerable not only to a single pesticide, but also, to synergistic effects of the plethora of pesticides that may end up in the colony’s hive, plus the so-called “inert” ingredients in pesticide compounds. Researchers in one study noted, “One hundred and twenty-one different pesticides and metabolites were identified in the hive with an average of seven pesticides per pollen sample, including miticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and insect growth regulators.”    'The amount of pesticide residue present inside colonies following exposure appears to be an important measure for assessing the impact on a colony’s health in the future.”'    SNAP Comment: In my view, if it is affecting the development of bumblebee's brains, there is no reason it can't affect humans. 

Experts Identify Fireflies as the Latest Victim of the Ongoing Insect Apocalypse  (Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2020)     'In an article published this month, “A Global Perspective on Firefly Extinction Threats,” experts are sounding the alarm over declines in fireflies attributed to habitat loss, light pollution, and indiscriminate pesticide use.    Pesticide use is particularly pernicious in the context of firefly ecology. While direct contact with pesticide sprays is a concern, exposure in soil and water represent greater hazards. This is because many firefly species lay their eggs in soil, and many spend the first years of their life in aquatic habitats like mangroves and other riparian vegetation (vegetation along the banks of waterways). Pesticides, like the neonicotinoid class of insecticides also implicated in pollinator declines, are known to drift once applied, and persist in soil and waterways.'

Toxic Herbicide Atrazine Causes Wasp Gut Microbiome to Develop Pesticide Resistance Across Generations  (Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2020)   This study not only represents one of the first evolutionary studies on symbiont-mediated pesticide resistance, it also provides fodder for future research regarding the implications of exposure to xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) for other gut bacteria hosts – such as honey bees and humans. Early generations of wasps in the study received a field-realistic dose of atrazine (300 ppb) or a subtoxic dose (30 ppb); exposed individuals showed a gut flora composition significantly different from the control group. The shift in microbiome composition persists across subsequent generations.   After the 8th generation of sublethal dosing, there was a significant increase in tolerance to atrazine. LC50 increased in later generations of the atrazine-exposed population, indicating pesticide resistance. The paper reads, “Our study is one of the few cases to experimentally evolve cooperation between a host animal and rare members of the microbiome to derive new fitness traits within the population.”   Even when wasps are switched to an atrazine-free diet for six generations, the bacterial composition was similar to that of the exposed parents. Overall, researchers observed an increase in microbiota diversity and bacterial load.'

Study Finds EU Moratorium of Persistent Bee-Toxic Pesticides Cannot Eliminate Short-Term Hazards  (Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2019)   'Five years after three neonicotinoids were banned for use on bee-attractive crops in the EU, researchers found that these bee-toxic chemicals are contaminating soils and poisoning the nectar of oilseed rape (canola). The results of this research point to an immediate need to end the use of persistent environmental contaminants and promote organic practices.  They tested for imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin residues in the nectar of winter-sown oilseed rape in from 291 oilseed rape fields in western France for five years following the EU moratorium (2014-2018).  Results show all three neonicotinoids were present at least once in the study’s time period. Imidacloprid was detected every year with “no clear declining trend,” though its prevalence fluctuated widely between years. Two samples from 2016 show residues that are five times the expected maximum concentration in nectar of a plant directly treated with imidacloprid.   Risk peaks in 2014 and 2016 indicate that 50% of honey bees were likely to die from imidacloprid on 12% of the study plots. Risk for individual wild bees was even higher.  These data illustrate that the EU moratorium, while viewed as a a critically needed step, cannot in the short-term eliminate risk from persistent pesticides for foraging bees.'

Study Shows Drastic Loss of Arthropods in German Grasslands and Forests  (Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2019)    They found that, in grasslands, arthropod:

  • Biomass declined by 67%
  • Abundance declined by 78%
  • Number of species declined by 34%

In forest sites, arthropod:

  • Biomass declined by 41%
  • Number of species declined by 36%
  • Abundance had more complicated results

The paper’s abstract sums up, “Our results suggest that major drivers of arthropod decline act at larger spatial scales, and are (at least for grasslands) associated with agriculture at the landscape level. This implies that policies need to address the landscape scale to mitigate the negative effects of land-use practices.”    It seems like the researchers stayed clear of mentioning pesticide although Beyond Pesticides adds the following:  'It’s clear that industrial agriculture is contributing to the insect apocalypse, as well as declines in birds and other yet unknown species. Yet we also know that, by eschewing pesticide use, focusing on soil health, diversification, and sustainable practices, organic and regenerative farming and land management can help reverse this decline. Join this effort by purchasing organic whenever possible, planting diverse pesticide-free habitat on your property, and encouraging your local community to follow suit. Initiatives in cities like Amsterdam, Netherlands show that this is an issue we can still address.'

Bees Enrich Farmers More than Synthetic Inputs, According to Study  (Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2019)    'The study was performed in France. 'Addressing the ongoing question of how much natural ecosystem services are worth, scientists analyzed the costs and benefits of biodiversity versus agrichemicals. Researchers found the value pollinators add to oilseed rape (OSR) production by increasing yields is higher than synthetic chemical inputs, which are costly to farmers and decrease beneficial insect abundance. The title of the study touts the impressive findings, “Bee pollination outperforms pesticides for oilseed crop production and profitability.”   The researchers state, “Based on a very large dataset spanning 4 and 6 years, this study provides a comprehensive analysis of the synergy and antagonism between agrochemical applications and biodiversity, and their effects on yield and income.”

A new way to assess the danger that pesticides can pose to bees  (by Matt Kelly, The Bee Report,September 5, 2019)   “Our study shows that ground nesting bees are literally risking their lives by excavating their nests in agricultural soil because of the high concentrations of neonicotinoids there,” said Chan...The obvious next step with this new knowledge would be to evaluate any insecticide that is applied to soil for its toxicity on bees that make their homes there. Chan and her colleagues are also in the final stages of completing research into the sublethal effects of contact with pesticides through the soil '   '“The results were sobering,” said Susan Chan, Ph.D. student and lead author, by email. Under many of the scenarios they evaluated, the team found that a hoary squash bee will be exposed to a killing dose of neonicotinoids 80 percent of the time.'

Same Pesticides that are Killing Bees Significantly Shorten Monarch Lifespan   (Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2019)   'Both groups were provided a sugar solution, with the treated group’s solution containing 23.5 parts per billion imidacloprida dose similar to what a butterfly could encounter in a real world scenario.  Monarchs that fed on contaminated sugar solution experienced a significantly shortened lifespan. By day 22, 78.8% of monarchs in the treatment group were dead, compared to 20% mortality within the control group. The treatment group showed marked declines before death – at day 12 displaying uncoordinated flapping of their wings and uncontrolled body vibrations that prevented them from flying.

Surprise: Bees Need Meat   Microbes in flowers are crucial to bee diets, and microbiome changes could be starving the insects  (By Paige Embry, Scientific American, August 23, 2019).   'The mason bee results suggest that bees could suffer or starve if certain microbes disappear from their diet. Scientists have attributed the declines of both managed and wild bees to various combinations of habitat loss and degradation, pests and pathogens, pesticide exposure and climate change. They have largely focused on how such factors impact bees directly. The next step is to look at whether the stressors may affect the pollen-borne microbes.'   “we have ample evidence, at this point, that fungicides dramatically alter the microbial community of fermenting pollen.” And, he adds, “agricultural use of fungicides is very likely a primary stressor—the primary stressor—for bee decline.”

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides   Bees, butterflies, and other insects are under attack by the very plants they feed on as U.S. agriculture continues to use chemicals known to kill. (Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, August 6, 2019)    'Using a new tool that measures toxicity to honey bees, the length of time a pesticide remains toxic, and the amount used in a year, Klein and researchers from three other institutions determined that the new generation of pesticides has made agriculture far more toxic to insects. Honey bees are used as a proxy for all insects...The study found that neonics accounted for 92 percent of this increased toxicity. Neonics are not only incredibly toxic to honeybees, they can remain toxic for more than 1,000 days in the environment, said Klein...This is the first study to quantify how toxic agricultural lands have become for insects and it shows toxicity levels rapidly increased when treating seeds with neonics really took off, said Klein. “This is also when beekeepers began to see declines in bee numbers,” she says.' also see Chemical-Intensive Agriculture Is Increasingly Toxic to Insects (Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2019) 

Pesticide-Intensive Agriculture Contributes to Severe Monarch Butterfly Decline through Milkweed Contamination  (Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2019) 'In Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the researchers report finding evidence of 14 different agricultural pesticides on milkweed near Indiana farm fields, including neonicotinoids clothinidin and thiamethoxam, the pyrethroid deltamethrin, and imidacloprid in a few samples...Perhaps a chief reason for the decline is loss of habitat and food sources due to the rapid and rabid adoption, in agriculture, of glyphosate...(1) insecticide presence and concentrations decreased with greater distance from agricultural fields; and (2) presence and concentration of pesticide compounds appeared to vary by year and month;'

Scientists Say, “We know enough to act now,” on Perilous Global Insect Decline  (Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2017)   'The main culprits of insect demise are habitat loss and degradation, pesticides, and climate change. The authors note that it is less critical, at this juncture, to focus on the complexities of the individual issues than to understand that many factors act as a “firing squad” of stressors. “In many cases it will be difficult to identify the killing shot,” the authors write, “but we know the bullets are flying and we know where they are coming from.”'   Includes policy recommendations.

Flight Distance of Bumblebees Impaired by Pesticide, Leads to 87% Decline in Accessible Forage Area     (Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2019)    'The study’s researchers find that worker bumblebees so exposed exhibit significant diminishment of flight endurance — measured as both distance and duration — to approximately one-third of what control workers demonstrate.' 

Not Just Bumble and Honey: Ground Nesting Bees Impaired by Neonicotinoid Exposure  (Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2019)    'Chronic contact with realistic soil concentrations of imidacloprid affects the mass, immature development speed, and adult longevity of solitary bees, recently published in Scientific Reports, confirms that wild, soil-dwelling bees are at similar risk. As policy makers consider ways to protect pollinators, this research finds that uncontaminated soil is an important aspect of ensuring the health of wild, native bees.'   'The changes are likely a result of a hormetic response by the pollinators. This is a phenomena that results from exposure to pesticides; changes in development occur in order to compensate for energy the bee diverts into physical and biological protections from pesticide exposure. This has important implications for the long term health of ground-nesting bees. Any change in development that distracts or alters normal functioning can affect fitness in the field.'

Pesticide Exposure Alters Gene Expression in Bumblebees (Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2019)    “Our work demonstrates that the type of high-resolution molecular approach that has changed the way human diseases are researched and diagnosed, can also be applied to beneficial pollinators. This approach provides an unprecedented view of how bees are being affected by pesticides and works at large scale. It can fundamentally improve how we evaluate the toxicity of chemicals we put into nature.”   'Clothianidin had a stronger impact on bumblebee colonies, changing the expression of 55 genes in worker bees and 17 genes in queens. The affected genes are involved in important biological processes such as mitochondrial function. Researchers noted with interest that there was almost no overlap between the genes that were impacted in queens versus workers. Comparatively, imidacloprid altered expression of only one gene in workers. The divergent effects of these two similar pesticides indicates distinct genetic mechanisms of toxicity.'  SNAP Comment: This type of evidence is certainly not mandated for pesticide registration, and it may take decades before it it considered in re-evaluation.

Scientists warn about the dangerous interaction of plant protection products (ESTONIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL, 12 MAR-2019)     'Using a hymenopteran parasitoid wasp Aphelinus abdominalis (a globally distributed species widely used in biocontrol) as a model, a team of researchers showed the enhanced effect of a low-concentration insecticide (thiacloprid) treatment when combined with various concentrations of a fungicide (tebuconazole). 'SNAP Comment: It is absolutely correct that pesticides are only evaluated one at a time, even when regularly used as a mixture like lawn chemicals (2,4-D,, mecoprop and dicamba)

New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse  More Than 40 Percent of World's Insect Species on Fast-track to Extinction (Center for Biological Diversity,February 1, 2019)  SNAP Comment: The Canadian PMRA uses the same model as the US EPA to evaluate pesticides. The comments below fit Canada as well.   'The meta-analysis of 73 studies assessing insect declines over a period of at least 10 years found that industrial farming practices driving habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers is associated with 47 percent of reported declines....The decline of widely ranging generalist insect species shows that habitat loss, alone, is not enough to explain insect declines. Mounting evidence now demonstrates that a significant driver is the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers.'  “We know neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of bee decline and are working to ban them, but this review highlights the urgent need for sweeping pesticide reform,” Cornelisse said. “That reform must start with the EPA replacing its long, troubling embrace of pesticide makers with a truly independent review process for assessing these dangerous poisons.” see also Study Predicts Demise of Insects within Decades if Pesticide Dependence Continues(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019) 

Vermont, Confirming Insect Apocalypse (Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2018) 'The richness, diversity, and abundance of wild bumblebees in Vermont has plummeted over the last century, according to an analysis from researchers at the University of Vermont and Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE)... According to the results, of the 17 bumblebee species considered native to Vermont, four showed evidence of significant declines, and four are simply not detected, leading researchers to the conclusion they are likely to be locally extinct...Overall Vermont’s pollinators experienced significant declines in species richness (the number of different species found), abundance (the number of pollinators found), and diversity (a measure of species richness and relative abundance).'

Camera-wielding robot records effects of pesticide on bees’ behavior  (Mongabey, by Stephanie Parker on 21 November 2018)  'The team found that bumblebees exposed to environmentally realistic amounts of neonicotinoid compounds reduced their nursing and caretaking activities at night and were less able to regulate the colony’s temperature, among other behavioral changes that may impact their population.' SNAP comment: A very sophisticated experiment with results indicating that curent pesticide testing is woefully inadequate to prevent damage. 

Bumblebees Shown to Suffer Reproductive Failure after Pesticide Exposure (Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2018) 'A new study offers fresh evidence that wild bumblebee pollinators are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, finding that exposure to these compounds interferes with mating success and population stability...While field-realistic consumption of clothianidin reduced survival rates in all test bumblebee populations, worker bees showed higher tolerance to chronic oral clothianidin exposure than queens. However, though queens are known to show reduced fertility following neonic exposure, bumblebee males, revealing surprising vulnerability, showed reduced sperm production and 50% mortality at the lowest administered doses...RNA testing results also revealed even low doses of clothianidin damaged 332 genes associated with major biological functions, including immune system response, learning and memory, locomotion, and reproduction.'

Hummingbirds and bumble bees exposed to neonicotinoid and organophosphate insecticides in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada  (Christine A. Bishop et al., Environmental Toxicology, 05 July 2018)  free access journal.  "the combined concentration of the neonicotinoid insecticides imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin detected in hummingbird cloacal fluid from sites near conventionally sprayed blueberry fields was 3.63 ng/mL (ppb). Only piperonyl butoxyde was detected in fecal pellets. Only diazinon was detected in bumble bees (0.197 ng/g), whereas diazinon (1.54–1.7 ng/g) and imidacloprid (up to 18.4 ng/g) were detected in pollen collected from bumble bees"

Amsterdam Leads Bee Recovery Efforts by Banning Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Improving Habitat  (Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2018)  "A new map published by the city identified 21 bee species not found in an earlier 1998 survey recorded by Amsterdam officials. The increase has been attributed to a range of pollinator-protective measures, including a ban on bee-toxic pesticides and the planting of native flowers, prioritized by the city government since the turn of the century."  "While the EU recently made indefinite a ban on bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides in agriculture, urban spaces have been singled out for the continued risk to pollinators posed by the lawn and garden use of these chemicals. Amsterdam appears to have successfully made up the difference, banning the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides on public city property, and encouraging residents and businesses to eliminate their use through brochures and informational pamphlets. Neonicotinoids have been implicated in the decline of wild and managed pollinators, leading governments, both large and small, to impose restrictions on their use.'  SNAP Comment: Similarly, I think the proposed Canadian ban of 3 neonicotinoids is mostly on farmland. If it covers outdoor uses, it would still mean that neonicotinoids would make their way to the consumers and the environment through allowed "indoor use" in greenhouses, presumably on food and bedding plants.

Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers  (Damian Carrington, Environment editor, The Guardian, 18 October 2017)   “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth but there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.” "In September, a chief scientific adviser to the UK government warned that regulators around the world have falsely assumed that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes and that the “effects of dosing whole landscapes with chemicals have been largely ignored”."  This scientific paper is also covered by the National Post and the Washington Post, 19 October 2017)  Flying insects aren't getting spattlered on your windshield any more - and scientists are concerned 

Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs  (The Salt, August 14, 2017)  The scientists, based at Royal Holloway University of London, set up a laboratory experiment with bumblebee queens. They fed those queens a syrup containing traces of a neonicotinoid pesticide called thiamethoxam, and the amount of the pesticide, they say, was similar to what bees living near fields of neonic-treated canola might be exposed to. Bumblebee queens exposed to the pesticide were 26 percent less likely to lay eggs, compared to queens that weren't exposed to the pesticide. The team published their findings in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.... According to Raine and his colleagues, the reduction in reproduction is so large that wild bumblebee populations exposed to these chemicals could enter a spiral of decline and eventually die out.

filed under wildlife/insects

Pesticide roulette (Hartley-Botanic.co.uk, June 26, 2017)   British study but no reason to think it is different here. "The depressing but not entirely surprising finding is that the large majority of plants being sold to people who want to look after bees and wildlife in their garden actually contained significant levels of pesticides, usually a complex cocktail of different insecticides and fungicides, including neonics, but also pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticides – which are also extremely harmful to bees and butterflies ...and moths and other insects."  "But there were significant levels of some neonics found in the food gathered by bumblebee nests placed in urban areas around Brighton in East Sussex, so there is a risk that bees in urban areas are being exposed to pesticides. It seems unacceptable to be selling plants as bee-friendly that are full of insecticides, but that’s exactly what they’re doing and, as far as I can tell, they have no plans to stop."

DDT Resistant Fruit Flies Show Reproductive Difficulties   (Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2017) Fruit flies that developed a genetic resistance to the insecticide DDT have lower success at mating than those without similar changes, according to a study published last month in the journal Behavior Genetics. The results were surprising to researchers, given that the resistance developed through changes to a single allele (a variation of a single gene). “It is amazing that even if all the genes are exactly the same, having this one gene expressed at a higher level has all these effects,” said Professor Nina Wedell, PhD, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, UK to Phys.org. The study raises possible concerns about the effect of pesticide exposure to non-target (not the focus of pesticide use) insects that are integral to a healthy ecology and food web...However, it should be noted that the documented effects in this study are only seen in the absence of insecticide exposure. SNAP Comment: These types of effects are not mandated studies prior to pesticide registration. I also think the study raises possible concerns about genetic engineering (GE). If the change in one naturally occurring allele can cause problems, what can the insertion of a new gene do?...

filed under Reproductive Healthwildlife/insects and gmos/Safety/Health Effects

Study finds link between neonic pesticides and decline of bumblebee queens  (Eric Atkins,The Globe and Mail, May 02, 2017) The queens were fed sugary water laced with real-world levels of the neonic thiamethoxam for two weeks, observed for another two weeks and then frozen, dissected and examined. The queens were less able to develop their ovaries and, in two of the species, ate less nectar. Both are responses likely to reduce their – and their colony’s – chances of survival, Dr. Raine said by phone. The effects of neonics on honeybees has been well-studied. But missing from the studies was the bumblebee queen, which occupies a unique position among bees, beginning each spring as a lone nester, egg layer and forager before breeding a colony that can reach several hundred by late summer. The queen’s initial solitude makes her species particularly vulnerable to such threats as climate change, loss of habitat and pesticides.

Common Pesticide Ingredient Labeled “Inert” Increases Honey Bee Susceptibility to Virus(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2017) A commonly used inert pesticide ingredient negatively affects the health of honey bees by making larvae more susceptible to a virus,The study assessed honey bee larval development after exposure to a continuous low dose of Sylgard 309, a surfactant, in their diet. This organosilicone surfactant is commonly used on agricultural crops, including tree fruits, nuts, and grapes. Their results reveal that honey bee exposure to chemical surfactants such as Sylgard 309 led to higher levels of Black Queen Cell Virus and when the bee larvae were exposed to the surfactant and virus simultaneously, “the effect on their mortality was synergistic rather than additive.” Surfactants are added to pesticide formulations to increase their efficacy by reducing surface tension and aiding in overall absorption of the product in the target plant. These inert ingredients often make up the majority, by weight, of the pesticide mixtures that are sold. A separate study released by Pennsylvania State University researchers in 2012 observes that bee learning behavior is impaired by exposure to low doses of surfactants –other ingredients commonly found in pesticide formulations. SNAP Comment: One of the rare studes on effects of a formulant. In Canada, inerts are called formulants. Surfactants are also used in Canadian sold pesticides. More on formulants in Canada. According to Sylgard 309's MSDS (Dow Chemical) its CAS number is 125997-17-3. This product is currently not in the 2010 PMRA Formulant's List. Likely others listed in the Compendium of Organo-Silicone Surfactants are but I don't have the time to check them all at this time. The number of formulants allowed in pesticide products in Canada dropped from 1588 formulants (REG 2004-01) to1379 (2007), of which 74 (5.38%) had no CAS identification number. The 2010 list increased that number to 3173 products of which 4 were in list 1, 593 in list 2, 1393 in list 3, 464 in list 4A and 716 in List 4B. Of  these 3173 formulants, only 25 have to be listed on labels with the 9 allergens subdivided in 35 formulants for a total of 51 (1.6%) formulants that have to be listed on labels The 593 list 2 (potentially toxic) formulants remain secret, as do known toxins in other categories. 43% of registered formulants are on list 3, which means we know little of their potential effects or toxicity. 

By Killing Beneficial Insects, Neonic-Coated Seeds Increase Pesticide Dependency, Just Like Other Insecticide Applications (Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2016)  A new meta-analysis has challenged the belief that neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticide seed coatings have little to no effect on the health of beneficial predatory insect populations —on the contrary, researchers have found that the seed coatings impact predatory insects as much as broadcast applications of other insecticides...As predicted, the population of predatory insects are reduced in the plots where coated seeds are planted, compared to the plots that are untreated by insecticides. Additionally, the meta-analysis finds that coated seeds affected predatory insect populations similarly to soil and broadcast applications of pyrethroids.

More Evidence Shows Neonics Harm Butterflies (Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2016) A study published earlier this week has found that the increasing use of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides is correlated with a steep decline in butterfly health and reproductive success – as more neonics are used, butterflies are struggling to survive. This study adds to previous evidence that demonstrates, in addition to bees, neonics can cause serious harm to other important pollinators.The study, Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland CaliforniaMammals

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also see monitoring pesticides, and neonicotinoids

Widely used neonic insecticides may be a threat to mammals, too    Neonicotinoids, used on corn seed and other crops, are already accused of contributing to declines of insect pollinators. Now there’s evidence they can also harm rabbits, birds, and deer.(By Elizabeth Royte, Food and Environment Reporting Network, February 5, 2021)    'Over the past several years, scientists have found that only about 5 percent of neonic seed coatings are taken up by crop plants. The rest washes or wears off seeds. The chemicals accumulate in soils and waterways, where a wide range of wildlife is exposed to them. Evidence is growing that compounds tailored to take out invertebrates can also harm mammals, birds, and fish. In a 2019 study, Roy set up camera traps in agricultural fields where she had deliberately spilled treated seed. Her motion-triggered cameras recorded more than a dozen bird species (including ring-necked pheasants, geese, and turkeys), plus bears, raccoons, rodents, rabbits, foxes, and skunks, all feeding on the treated seed.'    Add deer, antelope and likely all the moose living in farmland these days.

Endangered Florida Manatees Contaminated with Glyphosate/Roundup Due to Widespread Use   (Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2021) Florida manatees are experiencing chronic glyphosate exposure that is likely to impact their immune system and make them more susceptible to other environmental stressors such as red tide and cold stress... Results found glyphosate in the bodies of 55.8% of Florida manatee samples. Most concerning, the amount of pesticide increased in a straight line over the course of the study.  Authors of the study indicate that it is appropriate to consider glyphosate a “pseudo-persistent” pollutant, “in which new applications of the herbicide replace the molecules that are being removed,” the study reads.'

Minnesota Deer Threatened by Ubiquitous Neonicotinoid Contamination, According to Study  (Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2021)     'Preliminary results reveal that 61% of deer spleen samples contained neonicotinoids. Although MDNR notes that these levels are below allowable levels set by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for consumption of other foods like fruit and beef, it has not yet released exact numbers, and that fact alone does not equate to safety. ...Subsequent reporting from the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicates that some of the deer spleens tested contained detections well above levels found in the South Dakota study that result in fawn birth defects (.33 parts per billion). A letter written to hunters who provided MDNR spleen samples informed them that initial testing found levels as high as 6.1 parts per billion. ...The detections were not simply from one particular location, but widespread throughout the state, even in remote, forested areas.    These data reinforce long-standing calls by scientists and conservation groups to eliminate the use of neonicotinoids due to their broad ranging impacts on ecosystems. In 2018, the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, an international group of over 240 scientists published a Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) synthesizing 1,121 published peer-reviewed studies over the last five years. The scientists found that, “neonics impact all species that chew a plant, sip its sap, drink its nectar, eat its pollen or fruit and these impacts cascade through an ecosystem weakening its stability.”

filed under wiildlfe/mammals and neonicotinoids

Aggressive Cancer in Sea Lions Linked to Ocean Pollution and Herpesvirus Precursor, Implications for Human Health    (Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2021) California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are experiencing high rates of urogenital carcinoma (UGC) cancer incidences from the combined effect of toxic “legacy” pesticides like DDT and the viral infection Otarine herpesvirus-1 (OtHV1), according to a new study published in Frontiers in Marine Science. Previous research documents the role herpesvirus infection, genotype, and organochlorine pesticides play in sea lion cancer development. However, synergism (collaboration) between viral infection and toxic chemical exposure increases cancer development odds.  “This study has implications for human health, as virally associated cancer occurs in humans, and likelihood of cancer development could similarly be increased by exposure to environmental contaminants. Efforts to prevent ecosystem contamination with persistent organic pollutants must be improved to protect both wildlife and human health.”

New Test Will Help Researchers Understand Pesticide Threats to Wild Bat Populations   (Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2020) 'A new test developed by a team of Mexican and Canadian scientists will help field researchers detect early warning signs of pesticide exposure in wild bat populations.  The test in question is referred to as a micronucleus test. Although it does not measure the level of pesticide contaminating a bat’s body, it can assess genotoxicity (the effect of pesticides and other chemical agents that damage genetic information in a cell). This is done by taking blood samples of bats, and testing for the presence of micronuclei formation, which are materials in blood that contain damaged chromosomes not incorporated into a cell after cell division. What little research that has been conducted on the harm pesticides cause to bats shows significant cause for concern. Agricultural pesticide use results in a large proportion of a bat’s insect diet being contaminated with highly toxic chemicals. Bats are particularly sensitive to pesticides that bioconcentrate in fat (lipophilic pesticides); they develop large stores to use while migrating or hibernating, and high concentrations of toxic pesticides in this fat can result in significant poisoning as the body burns it off.  Despite the unique ways in which pesticides harm bats, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not evaluate a pesticide’s effect on bats prior to registration.   Because bats are unusually long-lived for animals their size — lifespans range from 20 to 40 years — their bodies can accumulate pesticide residues over a long period, exacerbating adverse effects associated with those pesticides that can accumulate in fatty tissue.' A bat's 'consumption of large volumes of pesticide-contaminated insects can mean that these compounds may reach toxic levels in their brains — making them more susceptible to White Nose Syndrome.'.

Primates, Both Wild and Captive, Are Being Exposed to Toxic Pesticides and Flame Retardants    (Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2020) Both wild and captive primates are being exposed to hazardous pesticides and flame retardants, according to research published this month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. This is the first study to look at the threat anthropogenic (man-made) chemicals may present for this important order of animals.   Scientists discovered legacy pesticides (such as heptachlor, DDT, hexachlorohexane, chlordane, and related compounds) in every species tested, with the highest levels found in red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. In particular, DDT and its related compounds (DDD and DDE) were found to be widespread, with red colobus monkeys registering a median of 260 ppb DDE in its waste. Current use pesticides were only detected in the feces of primates from the United States and Costa Rica. Over half of these animals have chlorpyrifos pass through their bodies. Baboons in the Indiana sanctuary are the only population exposed to synthetic pyrethroidsFlame retardant exposure is also widespread, with the chemical tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate the most widely detected.

Study Finds that Commonly Occurring Levels of Neonicotinoid Insecticide Harm White-tailed Deer   (Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2019) ..."Field-relevant contamination with the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid causes reduced body weight and metabolism in white-tailed deer, and – in fawns – mortality. Remarkably, researchers uncovered imidacloprid levels in free-ranging deer a full 3.5 times higher, on average, than the levels in the animals treated in their experiment.

Glyphosate on feed affects livestock: vet (Western Producer, 19 October 2017)  A veterinarian in Shaunavon, Sask., believes feed with glyphosate residue adversely affects cattle health. Dr. Ted Dupmeier, who operates his own practice at Shaunavon, told about 50 people at a recent event he called an awareness seminar that he began investigating after being unable to diagnose problems in a dairy herd in which cows were inexplicably dying. He said after removing feed that had been sprayed with glyphosate the problems were resolved.  SNAP Comment: Positive that this story was actually worth an article in the Western Producer. This 'anecdote" supports the facts presented in the video Poisoned Fields - Glyphosate, the underrated risk? (HD 1080p)  (Jan 25, 2016)

Rod Cumberland - Presentation on the effects of glyphosate on deer (YouTube video, 45 minutes)  A New Brusnwick deer biologist explains how he researched the problem of the tumbling New Brunswick deeer population and what he found. Softwood tree plantations sprayed with RoundUp to eliminate any other growth are the culprit. No food left for deer or most other species. Indirect effect but massive. Very interesting. the kind of thing one suspects, but to find someone who investigated it is great. A new piece in the puzzle of how we destroy the earth that sustains us.

Rodent bait from oilsands poisoning animals commonly trapped in Alberta Oilsands companies respond by banning rodent poison (David Thurton · CBC News December 2, 2016)   25 per cent of fishers and 10 per cent of martens had detectable levels of the poison. The research also traced the restricted rodent poison Bromadiolone to its use in nearby oilsands operations."Those animals that were sampled were the animals healthy enough to pursue prey and then be captured on the trapline. So obviously those sick and lethargic animals we are not sampling," Thomas said. As a result, 25 companies voluntarily stopped using the poison researchers found in martens and fishers.

The High Cost of Pesticides: Human and Animal DiseasesHoy et al., Poult Fish Wildl Sci 2015, 3:1. A very important article documenting that the degradation of health in wildlife and humans correlates very well with glyphosate use in general, with a turn for the worse when salt formulations started to be used. The article also discusses other pesticides such as the fungicide chlorothalonil and the herbicides 2,4-D and dicambaIt deals with birth defects, endocrine disruption and studies hospital descharge rates for various conditions. It nalyses the mechanisms of action.

'Because much of the wildlife data is from deer fawns, most of the human data presented here involve newborn infants, but we also present some data for children 0-15 years old and for the full population (except newborn)We found many diseases and conditions whose hospital discharge rates match remarkably well with the rate of glyphosate usage on corn, nder wildlife/mammalssoy, and wheat crops. These include head and face anomalies (R=0.95), newborn eye disorders, newborn blood disorders (R=0.92), newborn skin disorders (R=0.96), lymph disorders in children 0-15 (R=0.86) and in the general population except newborn (R=0.89), congenital heart conditions in newborns (R= 0.98), enlarged right ventricle in all age groups except newborn (R=0.96), newborn lung problems (R=0.95), pulmonary bleeding and edema for all age groups except newborn (R=0.97), liver cancer for all age groups except newborn (R=0.93), newborn metabolic disorders (R=0.95) and newborn genitourinary disorders (R=0.96). Also filed under health  and pesticide factsheets/glyphosate

see also glyphosateneonicotinoids, atrazinewaterexposure to pesticides

Invertebrates and Plants Face Increasing Threat from Pesticide Use, Despite Declining Chemical Use Patterns    Pesticide use threatens aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and plants more than ever, despite declining chemical use and implementation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the U.S., according to a University Koblenz-Landau, Germany study.' Although the new generation of pesticides (e.g., neonicotinoids, pyrethroids) pesticides are more target-specific, requiring lower chemical concentrations for effectiveness, they have over double the toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators....'The study results find a decrease in total pesticide amounts by volume on U.S. farms by 40 percent over the last 25 years. Although bird and mammal toxicity decreases with a reduction in pesticide use (95 percent), invertebrates experience higher toxicity levelsPyrethroid insecticides cause toxicity to double among aquatic invertebrates. Neonicotinoid insecticides present double the risk to terrestrial invertebrates. Overall, pesticide toxicity for terrestrial plants is highest regardless of whether fields are conventional, non-GE, or GE  see also  Pesticides are becoming increasingly toxic for the world's most important insects The toxicity of 381 pesticides in the U.S. more than doubled for pollinators and aquatic invertebrates over the past two decades.(PANNA, May 18, 2021)

Pet flea treatments poisoning rivers across England, scientists find (The Guardian, 17 November 2020)   Discovery is ‘extremely concerning’ for water insects, and fish and birds that depend on them.    The research found fipronil in 99% of samples from 20 rivers and the average level of one particularly toxic breakdown product of the pesticide was 38 times above the safety limit. Fipronil and another nerve agent called imidacloprid that was found in the rivers have been banned from use on farms for some years (NOTE: In the UK, not Canada) .  There are about 10 million dogs and 11 million cats in the UK, with an estimated 80% receiving flea treatments, whether needed or not. The researchers said the blanket use of flea treatments should be discouraged and that new regulation is needed. Currently, the flea treatments are approved without an assessment of environmental damage. "Fipronil is one of the most commonly used flea products and recent studies have shown it degrades to compounds that are more toxic to most insects than fipronil itself..." "The problem is these chemicals are so potent," he said, even at tiny concentrations. “We would expect them to be having significant impacts on insect life in rivers.” One flea treatment of a medium-sized dog with imidacloprid contains enough pesticide to kill 60 million bees, he said.   The researchers found the highest levels of the pesticides downstream from water treatment plants, showing that urban areas were the main source and not farmland.   The washing of pets was already known to flush fipronil into sewers and then rivers, while dogs swimming in rivers provides another pathway for contamination. see also Flea Treataments Found to Contaminate Waterways.(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2020)for more in depth analysis. 'Though these compounds are banned for agricultural uses in the United Kingdom (UK), risk assessment for them, as used on animals, has been minimal because of the assumption that the amounts used for veterinary treatments would mean far-less-significant environmental impact than might be expected with agricultural-scale use.SNAP Comment: As of 19 November 2020, the PMRA label search indicates that fipronil was never registered in Canada. Research indicates that may formulations are licnesed in the USA for a wide variety of usages, likely including flea treatment. In Canada, there are 99 registered insecticides containing Imidacloprid, 50 of which are specifically for flea treatment. 

Pesticide Use Harming Key Species Ripples through the Ecosystem (Pesticides and You, summer 2018)    'Halstead et al. (2017) incorporated these data into epidemiological models to determine the risk of disease transmission in real world scenarios. It was determined that while atrazine caused a 28% increase in schistosomiasis transmission risk by indirectly increasing snail populations, the loss of crayfish and water bug predators were catastrophic for human health, leading to a 10-fold expected increase in parasitic infection. On the other hand, in healthy mesocosms unexposed to either pesticide, predator populations were able to adequately maintain snail numbers below thresholds for disease transmission.     In both still and fast-moving aquatic environments, pesticides act powerfully on the foundational levels of the food web. Although algae blooms are usually considered the result of excess nutrient input, it could also be the case that a recent insecticide application eliminated all of the herbivorous grazing macroinvertebrates. Likewise, declines in threatened predators like otters could be related to impacts two steps down the food chain, if the fish on which they rely have declined due to pesticide-induced reductions in their prey.   During the first month after seed treatment (with neonics) in a soybean field, slug predation was reduced by 33%, slug activity increased by nearly 70%, and, over the course of the season, soybean yields were down 19%. '    The EPA and PMRA agencies must develop a “No Observed Adverse Effect Level” for ecosystems. Many other examples presented in the article.

Environmental Groups Are Victorious in Lawsuit that Pushes EPA to Protect Endangered Species  (Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2019)   'Last week the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must assess the risk eight toxic pesticides pose to protected organisms: atrazine, carbaryl, methomyl, and simazine as well as rodenticides brodifacoum, bromadiolone, warfarin and zinc phosphide. "It is inappropriate that environmental groups are forced to expend time and resources in order to get EPA to simply do its job as the law requires," says Barbara Dale, Public Education Manager at Beyond Pesticides. also includes some alarming “fun” facts on a few of these toxic chemicals.'

Insect “Honeydew” Secretions, Contaminated with Neonicotinoid Insecticides then Eaten by Other Insects, and Birds Contribute to an Expansive Threat  (Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2019)  'Pollinators such as honey bees, solitary bees, bumblebees, and even birds have been observed feeding on honeydew.'  'Results were bad news for beneficial hoverflies and parasitic wasps. Every hoverfly that ate honeydew from the thiamethoxam-sprayed trees died within three days of exposure, compared to 10% of the control group. Of the hoverflies that consumed honeydew from the trees soil-treated with thiamethoxam, nearly 70% died, compared with 14% for the controls. Results for the parasitic wasps were marginally better: more than 50% died after consuming honeydew from both soil- and foliar-treated trees, compared with less than 20% mortality among controls. The honeydew itself was also evaluated: samples from trees treated with thiamethoxam were highly toxic to both species of beneficial insects, and honeydew from those treated with imidacloprid was moderately toxic to hoverflies.'

EPA Finds Atrazine Threatens Ecological Health (Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2016) EPA’s preliminary ecological risk assessment finds that for current uses at prescribed label rates, atrazine may pose a chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic vertebrate animals. Where use is heavy, the agency indicates that chronic exposure through built-up concentrations in waterways is likely to adversely impact aquatic plant communities. Levels of concern, a wonky equation that EPA produces to measure risk, were exceeded for birds by 22x, fish by 62x, and mammals by 198x. Even reduced label rates were expected to harm terrestrial plant species as a result of runoff and drift from pesticide applications. It is important to note that these impacts were seen for uses which, based on data obtained during atrazine’s last review 15 years ago, EPA considered to be “safe” when used according to label rates.SNAP's note: I don't believe much atrazine is used in Saskatchewan but perhaps its use in increasing with an increase in corn and soy crops. There are no pesticide use data in Canada and the Pesticide Sales data yearly report is for several years previously and not very informative on individual chemicals. A recent study of Calgary air and soil found atrazine. Before SNAP was started, I obtained the list of allowable Weed and Feed products (not from the PMRA as they are regulated somewhere else) and found one product on the market containing atrazine. The PMRA answer was standard: they were following the PMRA rules and no idea if they would follow up on my discovery or ignore it totally.

Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?   27 minutes video from Earth Focus. Oct 13, 2014. Up to date scientific info on effects of neonics on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including the marine ecosystem.

New Four-Year Scientific Analysis: Systemic Pesticides Pose Global Threat to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Press Release from the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, 24 June 2014) The analysis, known as the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA),  to be published in the peer reviewed Journal Environment Science and Pollution Research, finds that neonics pose a serious risk of harm to honeybees and other pollinators such as butterflies and to a wide range of other invertebrates such as earthworms and vertebrates such as birds Pesticides linked to bee deaths must be banned, scientists sayNeonicotinoids, fipronil linked to ecosystem damage in new report By Aleksandra Sagan (CBC News,Jun 24, 2014) includes video.

Honey Bee Diseases Threaten Bumblebees; Late Breaking: EPA Announces New Protections for Farmworkers (Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2014The study gives credence to recent research demonstrating that pesticide use compromises immune system functioning, dramatically raising their susceptibility to diseases.

Immune suppression by neonicotinoid insecticides at the root of global wildlife declines. Mason, R., H. et al. 2013.Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology; In Press September/October 2012. The authors  postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids. More on neonicotinoids at http://www.snapinfo.ca/issues/bee-die-off,  http://www.snapinfo.ca/info/fact-sheetshttp://www.snapinfo.ca/info/wildlife/ birds and amphibians and water/Saskatchewan

Beyond Pesticides Archive for the 'Wildlife/Endangered Sp.' Category