Molecule of the Week
February 17, 2014
Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that was developed jointly by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer. Neonicotinoids were developed to replace nicotine, which is an effective insecticide but degrades too rapidly to be practical for large-scale use. Neonicotinoids also replaced older pesticides that were harmful to humans and other mammals.
Recently, the use of neonicotinoids has been criticized because they are toxic to nontarget insects, especially honeybees. In 2013, the European Union (EU) issued a 2-year ban on clothianidin, thiamexotham, and other neonicotinoids on crops that attract bees. But the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the data used by the EU were inconclusive, and it did not ban neonicotinoids.
Later in 2013, a study conducted by F. Pennacchio and co-workers at the University of Naples Federico II established links between clothianidin exposure and two bee disorders: colony collapse disorder and deformed wing virus. This finding may lead to additional restrictions on the agricultural use of neonicotinoids.