Because it is known how certain pesticides are harmful to bees and bees, more and more active ingredients are banned. For example, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam are no longer approved for outdoor use in Switzerland and the EU.
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These so-called neonicotinoids are supposed to protect the crop from pests. But then they were shown to damage the nervous system and immune system of honey bees, bumblebees and other hymenopterons.
Only conditionally harmless
But classified as non-problematic substances can also be dangerous insects, according to Chinese researchers in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. A team around Lang Chen from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences has proven that even harmless pesticide additives are dangerous.
For this study, scientists exposed bees to three pesticide additives NMP, Silwet L-77 and Triton X-100, both in the laboratory and in the field. This is pure or in combination with neonicotinoid acetamipride, always in common concentration. Then they watched what happened.
Result: "Taken alone, the three adjuvants did not cause significant acute toxicity to honey bees," the researchers said. But in combination with pesticides, they would be shown to be acutely toxic and significantly more harmful than the neonicotinoid itself. The flight activity of the animals was also reduced. Both in the lab and in the field.
Accordingly, the mixture of neonicotinoid acetamiprid and the Silwet L-77 additive was shown to be particularly toxic. Chen and his colleagues therefore call for measures to better understand and limit the environmental risks posed by additives.