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    Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used for control of insect pests around the world and are especially pervasive in agricultural pest management. There is a growing body of evidence indicating that the broad-scale and prophylactic uses of neonicotinoids pose serious risks of harm to beneficial organisms and their ecological function. This provides the impetus for exploring alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides for controlling insect pests. We draw from examples of alternative pest control options in Italian maize production and Canadian forestry to illustrate the principles of applying alternatives to neonicotinoids under an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. An IPM approach considers all relevant and available information to make informed management decisions, providing pest control options based on actual need. We explore the benefits and challenges of several options for management of three insect pests in maize crops and an invasive insect pest in forests, including diversifying crop rotations, altering the timing of planting, tillage and irrigation, using less sensitive crops in infested areas, applying biological control agents, and turning to alternative reduced risk insecticides. Continued research into alternatives is warranted, but equally pressing is the need for information transfer and training for farmers and pest managers and the need for policies and regulations to encourage the adoption of IPM strategies and their alternative pest control options.


    Lorenzo Furlan, David Kreutzweiser. Alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides for pest control: case studies in agriculture and forestry. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2015 Jan;22(1):135-47

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    PMID: 25273517

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