Agriculture in the United States has become 48 times more toxic to insects over the last 25 years, largely due to a controversial, widely used class of pesticides that are particularly harmful to bees, according to a new study published on Tuesday.
Neonicotinoid pesticides, also known as neonics, are used on more than 140 different types of crops, from apples to rice. Neonics are most persistent in corn and soybeans as the pesticide is used to coat the seeds of these crops.
Neonics work by attacking the nerve cells of insects, compromising their behavior and often killing them directly. The pesticide was developed in the 1990s as a solution to insects developing immunity to other types of pesticides.