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There has been a lot of buzz in recent years about a group of chemicals known as "neonicotinoids." These pesticides affect the central nervous systems of insects, and are a suspected link to colony collapse disorder in domesticated honeybees as well as the rapid decline of many wild pollinator species.
About 85 percent of Earth's flowering plants rely on pollination by bees and other pollinators, according to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit that protects wildlife through invertebrate conservation. Bees also pollinate more than 30 percent of all plants that produce foods and beverages consumed by humans around the world.
"Neonicotinoids are one of the most serious causes of downward negative pressure on pollinators," according to Keith Delaplane, a professor of entomology and director of the Honey Bee Program at the University of Georgia. In fact, he rates neonicotinoids as the second-leading cause of decline in the nation's honeybees, reserving the top spot for the parasitic varroa destructor mite.
Many big box stores and hardware stores still sell tomato and veg and flower seedlings with neonicotinoids in them. When a bee lands to feed, it comes in contact with the neonicotinoids and it can be fatal.