Beyond honey bees, neonicotinoid pesticides now found to be killing baby birds

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year's vaccine doesn't work!
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
Tetanus vaccines found spiked with sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Top ten things you need to do NOW to protect yourself from an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
FDA targets Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Why flu shots are the greatest medical fraud in history
Governments seize colloidal silver being used to treat Ebola patients, says advocate
Flu vaccine kills 13 in Italy; death toll rises

(NaturalNews) A class of pesticides widely blamed for a worldwide collapse in pollinator populations is also devastating populations of birds, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands and the Centre for Field Ornithology and Birdlife Netherlands, and published in the journal Nature on July 16.

The chemicals, known as neonicotinoids, have increasingly come under fire for widespread destruction of organisms other than agricultural pests.

"I think we are the first to show that this insecticide may have wide-scale, significant effects on our environment," researcher Hans de Kroon said.

Systemic poison

In the past 20 years, neonicotinoids have become one of the fastest-growing pesticide classes. In contrast to most other pesticides, which must be sprayed directly onto plants close to the time that insect extermination is desired, neonicotinoids are simply used to treat seeds before planting. As a treated plant grows, it absorbs the poison into every single one of its tissues, making the entire plant toxic.

That means that even the plant's flowers, nectar and pollen become deadly, killing pollinators that visit the crop.

"The plants become poison not only for the insects that farmers are targeting, but also for beneficial insects like bees," said Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In addition, the neonicotinoids can spread into the surrounding soil and persist for years, thereby contaminating future generations of plants - including non-agricultural species.

"So they actually end up in plants that grow on the sides of fields that were never meant to be targeted," Sass said.

Due to concerns over their effects on pollinators, several varieties of neonicotinoid (including imidacloprid, the variety examined in the Nature study), have been banned in many European countries.

A new "silent spring"

The Dutch researchers compared long-term data on chemical concentrations in surface water and on farmland bird populations in several areas of the country. They found that in the areas with the highest imidacloprid contamination, populations of 14 separate bird species declined by an average of 3.5 percent every year. The researchers also looked for a correlation between bird populations and other possible risk factors - such as urbanization of farmland, fertilizer use, or changes in crops planted - but only neonicotinoid concentration was associated with the population drop.

The pesticides may be killing birds in two separate ways, the researchers suggested. First, birds could be eating parts of the contaminated plants, particularly seeds; according to a 1992 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sparrows that ate neonicotinoid-treated seeds lost the ability to fly and became immobile. Secondly, neonicotinoids might be destroying the food base of birds that feed on insects and other invertebrates.

The latter explanation is supported by the recent findings of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, a multidisciplinary group of 29 scientists that reviewed 800 separate studies on neonicotinoids and wildlife. The task force found that neonicotinoids were killing off not just agricultural pests but also insects, earthworms, aquatic invertebrates, and even fish and lizards. These effects happened even when the products were used according to manufacturer guidelines.

Neonicotinoid use, the task force wrote, is "likely to have a wide range of negative biological and ecological impacts."

Dutch researcher Ruud Foppen said he sees a parallel between the new study and the seminal 1962 environmental book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson. Carson's book, which is viewed as highly influential in launching the modern environmental movement, warned that organophosphate pesticides such as DDT were devastating bird populations.

"In this way, we can compare it to what happened decades ago," Foppen said. "And if you look at it from that side, we didn't learn our lessons."

Sources for this article include:

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.