Pesticides: Insects are also polluted in nature reserves

“Very little is known about the combined effects of whole cocktails of different pesticides and their decomposition products on insects. In approval tests, tests are usually performed only on individual active ingredients,” the scientists write in a letter. According to the study, insects either ingest pesticides directly in agricultural areas within a radius of two kilometers. Or the pesticides are transported into bioenvironments by water and wind. In doing so, they are usually directly exposed to the effects of adjacent usable zones, as there are no buffer zones or only very small zones between the two.

© EVK (excerpt)

Insects in a narrow trap | In malaise traps, various insects are caught and preserved in alcohol in order to be able to examine them – a standard method used by biologists.

Most nature reserves in Germany are small, two-thirds of the areas cover less than 50 hectares, so insects often fly in and out with their larger flight radius. In many protected areas, traditional agricultural or forestry use is often allowed. For Hörren und Sorg, two questions arise: “How are things going in this country with appropriately qualified, interdisciplinary nature conservation research when such data is first revealed in 2021? And why is agriculture that promotes biodiversity without the use of pesticides, both within and on the immediate fringes, adjacent to the most valuable protected areas, an exception to this day?

Until the entry into force of the new Plant Protection Application Decree in September 2021, only highly questionable agents were prohibited from being used in protected areas. Since the amendment, some herbicides and insecticides classified as hazardous to bees or pollinators are no longer permitted for use. Previous studies had found insecticides mainly in soil and water. Thanks to their newly developed method, the scientists were able to directly verify how strong and what pesticides the insects have contaminated themselves.

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