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  • Thumbnail for Neonicotinoids and Their Effects On Pollinators
    Neonicotinoids and Their Effects On Pollinators by Maurelli, Marissa Nicole

    Abstract Neonicotinoids are a unique class of insecticide used extensively in the agricultural industry. They were first introduced to the agrochemical industry in the early 1990’s. Since then, neonicotinoid use has grown almost exponentially due to their favorable qualities. The insecticide is effective because it acts as a neurotoxin that targets insect neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which allows the chemical to be selectively lethal to insects. Scientists, farmers, and beekeepers have recently become concerned about pollinator exposure to neonicotinoids due to dramatic declines bee populations. Pollinators can be exposed to neonicotinoids through a variety of different pathways, including consumption of contaminated pollen and nectar. Scientific research suggests that neonicotinoid exposure can have both lethal and sublethal effects on pollinators. Pollinators provide a very important ecosystem service, yet they are constantly subject to risk through neonicotinoid exposure. This study examines the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in regulating potentially harmful pesticides and concludes with suggestions for amending the Federal Insecticide Rodenticide and Fungicide Act as well as for regulating neonicotinoids.