This common agricultural practice is killing off beneficial insects that help naturally defend our food supply…
The use of chemicals like Roundup on American crops has become highly controversial in recent years, as evidence mounts of the health hazards dangers of this practice. And it’s not just the indiscriminate spraying of fields that is a problem. Other methods besides spraying are turning out to be just as dangerous, as the article from Modern Farmer quoted below explains.
Not only is Roundup turning up in our water supplies and poisoning our soils, but even seeds treated with this neonicotinoid chemical have been found to reduce the population of beneficial insects – thereby leading to increased pest presence and other crop problems.
This article explains the impact that pesticide-treated seeds are having on the population of the beneficial tiger beetle:
There has been a long-standing belief among some that the seed-coating treatments do not adversely affect non-targeted insects like the tiger beetle, pictured above. The tiger beetle is a predatory insect, which is a scary name for a bug that farmers should actually love: it feeds on aphids, caterpillars, and slugs, and will even eat the seeds of weeds. Farmers have no reason to want these guys dead, in addition to the fact that killing large numbers of any animal can throw off an entire ecosystem.
A new study from the entomology department at Penn State finds that, in direct contrast to this long-standing belief, neonicotinoid-treated seeds do in fact pose a significant risk to predatory insects like the tiger beetle. The study examined more than 20 different field studies, crunching the numbers in various ways, to find out exactly how these seeds affect predatory insects, and the results are scary: a reduction in predatory insect populations by 10 to 20 percent.