These pesticides are rampant and could affect more than just the birds and the bees.
When plants and seeds are treated with these strong chemicals, they make the entire plant toxic, including pollen and nectar, both of which are an important food source for insects and birds (think of tiny, fast-metabolism hummingbirds). And neonicotinoid treatment isn't just subjected to agricultural plants, they're also found in the kinds of plants you might pick up at the local nursery for your garden.
Where have we seen the greatest detriment to living organisms? Well, just think of the massive bee die-offs that have plagued several areas in the recent past. These important pollinators, while not targeted by applicators of these pesticides, have nonetheless seen unsettling declines. Despite this, the pesticides are continued to be used in our country, while the United Nations have already banned them.
It doesn't seem like the U.S. will do much about neonics in the near future thanks to some riled up agriculturalists and big corporations who only see the benefits of these harsh chemicals. Nonetheless, the issue has arisen on the hill, President Obama has issued a task force with the EPA to look into what detrimental effects these chemicals have on the environment. If determined as too high a risk, that would mean the 90% of all corn crops in the U.S. treated with these pesticides will have to find a safer alternative.
What we hope is that research into neonics will undeniably prove these chemicals to be bad for living species and the environment. Furthermore, neonics are known to enter the environment; they don't stay where they're applied. Perhaps if we can trace the chemicals in our water systems, the issue may become more urgent. If we don't care enough to make a difference because wildlife and the environment are impacted, we might when humans are affected. Who knows. But however it may happen, the sooner these pesticides are banned, the better.