Neonicotinoids are highly water soluble and easily move from sites where they are applied into surface and ground waters where they can kill or harm aquatic invertebrates such as mayflies, caddisflies and dragonflies. This affects fish, amphibians, birds, bats and mammals that feed on these insects. According to Dr. Boris Kondratieff, professor at Colorado State University and aquatic entomology expert: "Aquatic insects are essential components of aquatic and terrestrial food chains of most aquatic habitats worldwide. Continued contamination of aquatic environments with neonicotinoid pesticides will destroy or drastically impact the food base of aquatic ecosystems, directly or indirectly, reducing or causing the extinction of populations of spiders, fish, birds, bats, frogs and other animals."

In 2016, the city of Boulder collected water samples from all creeks in Four Mile Historic Park and Wonderland Creeks Greenway. They found imidacloprid at all sites except Eben G. Fine Park. This is because of the park's location at the western edge of the city and before the creek travels through residential or business areas. The city banned the use of neonicotinoids on city properties in 2015 and does not apply neonicotinoids. It is likely that imidacloprid originated from residential and commercial uses of the insecticide. Under the latest EPA published guidelines, Boulder's 2016 water samples exceed the new EPA limits for imidacloprid by an average of nearly five times the threshold for environmental damage


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Multiple studies are providing evidence that ground water across the United States is contaminated with neonicotinoids at toxic levels, contributing to the worldwide decline in a wide range of life forms.

Verify that any insecticide you intend to buy does not contain imidacloprid, clothianidin, or thiamethoxam.

Dan W. Bench, Boulder