A new study raises questions about the effectiveness of the two most popular types of agricultural pesticides, noting overreliance on the chemicals causes environmental harm while doing little to boost crop yields.
Field rotation, planting naturally resistant varieties and crop insurance are more effective than neonicotinoids and fipronil at defeating bugs, which quickly develop resistance to the pesticides, a study by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides says.
“We were surprised to see the yields with neonicotinoids, the yields were not much higher,” said Jean-Marc Bonmatin, an author of the paper published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. “The overwhelming evidence of negative effects on pollinators and arthropods needs to be weighed against the pest control benefits these systemic insecticides are supposed to produce.”
The new paper, which reviewed more than 200 studies on the topic, found use of the pesticides had little effect on crop yields because, in most cases, the threat to crops from wireworms and other pests was not high enough to justify the expense. Further, the pests quickly developed resistance to the chemicals.
“It doesn’t work now; this is a very important point,” Bonmatin said…. “The more you use insecticides, the more the pests become resistant.”
Editor’s note: Read the full study
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