The impacts of agricultural insecticides and new regulatory schemes on the health of wild and managed bees

Agricultural pesticides are one of several stressors contributing to the global decline of insect pollinators. More specifically, there is strong evidence of harm from neonicotinoid insecticides. Many jurisdictions are implementing new rules to restrict use of these common pesticides. While regulators have largely focused on reducing pollinator exposure to neonicotinoids, other insecticides also have the potential to harm pollinators. There is a need to analyze the full suite of agricultural insecticides to better understand the “pesticide stressor” and avoid regrettable substitutions as farmers reduce reliance on neonicotinoids.  Furthermore, little is known about the extent to which restrictions on neonicotinoids will in fact support recovery of insect pollinators. Our research will address this gap in our knowledge through two objectives. First, we will produce a comprehensive review of the literature on the effects of currently registered insecticides on insect pollinators. Second, we will execute an experimental study of the impacts of new regulations on native bee communities.

Emma Gaudreault
Faculty Supervisor: 
Risa Sargent
Project Year: