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Neon­i­coti­noid in­sec­ti­cides are used in many coun­tries around the world in­clud­ing New Zealand to coat the seeds of crops and are de­signed to at­tack the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem of pest in­sects like aphids and thrips. There is con­cern that they do much the same to bees that come into con­tact with the chem­i­cals, which can re­main ac­tive in ar­eas away from sun­light for years. Those bees that are not killed are dis­ori­en­tated to the point where they fail to feed ef­fec­tively or work for the hive.

There is also con­cern that the gen­er­alised use of all kinds of chem­i­cals in in­dus­tri­alised agri­cul­ture is lead­ing to a ‘toxic over­load’, which may di­rectly com­pro­mise bee health or leave them more vul­ner­a­ble to nat­u­ral dis­eases and par­a­sites al­ready in the environment.

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