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SDSU Research: Neonicotinoids Linked to Birth Defects in Deer

Neonicotinoids, the same pesticides that research indicates hurt bees, may also be bad for deer, says research from SDSU:

The first study, with results published in March, showed that white-tailed deer with high levels of neonicotinoid pesticide in their spleens developed defects such as smaller reproductive organs, pronounced overbites and declined thyroid function. Fawns with elevated levels of the pesticide in their spleens were found to be generally smaller and less healthy than deer with less of the chemical in their organs. The study marks the first time neonicotinoid pesticide consumption has been linked to birth defects in large mammals.

“These (neonicotinoids) were deemed to be safe for higher organisms, and the fact that we saw so many diverse impacts on white-tailed deer, that was a big thing,” said Dr. Jonathan Lundgren an ecologist from Estelline, S.D., an independent scientist who co-authored the study. “And then, the fact that whitetail deer are not that far off from our livestock or even humans suggests that maybe we need to be examining these insecticides’ risks a little bit more closely” [Nick Lowrey, “SDSU Study Shows World’s Most Common Pesticide a Danger to Deer,” South Dakota News Watch, 2019.10.16].

The levels of imidacloprid, one type of neonicotinoid that the European Union severely restricted in 2013 and banned for outdoor use in 2018, to which the SDSU researchers subjected their lab deer may be lower than what deer in the wild are ingesting:

The SDSU study also examined spleen samples from more than 360 wild deer killed by cars, poachers or disease in North Dakota, Jenks said. Those samples provided one of the study’s biggest surprises and most significant findings. The wild North Dakota deer, on average, showed neonicotinoid concentrations 3.5 times higher in their spleens than even the captive deer to which Jenks, Lundgren and their fellow researchers gave what they believed to be extremely high doses of imidacloprid [Lowrey, 2019.10.16].

The SDSU researchers have a paper on neonicotinoid effects on pheasants in the publication chute. Perhaps our pheasant-fanatic Governor will want to keep an eye our for that paper and incorporate its findings in the next phase of her bird-boosting initiative.


  1. Barry G. Wick 2019-10-21 15:24

    You can’t quote science. Science is bad for South Dakota. South Dakota wants its children ignorant of science in all its forms…and you shouldn’t support those anti-religion people who believe in science. Religion can’t get its head around earth 4 billion years old and simple stuff like that. They need their 6000 years to feel comfortable. They go to hospitals in droves to have science save them from their life after death, but don’t acknowledge how science has contributed to medicine. You’d think they’d trust Jeebus, but they sell life insurance, and get their cars fixed, and fly across the nation in metal tubes full of demons…oh, lord…save them from being smart and scientific.

  2. mike from iowa 2019-10-21 16:12

    I can hear Fake news informed wingnuts pooh pooh damage to deer because they don’t make honey. Send that to the bogus potus and see how soon he tweets it and twists it into an attack on Biden.

  3. Debbo 2019-10-21 21:13

    I’m willing to bet that it will come out that the manufacturers of these neonicotinoids knew about their killing side effects all along. They probably cause autism, but the manufacturers created and support the entire pro-plague system.

    The last is a wild guess, but I would not be in the least surprised if that, or something similar, is actually true.

  4. JW 2019-10-21 21:37

    Don’t be surprised if the pheasant impact study suddenly melts into the background of political censorship.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-10-21 21:39

    Oh, JW, I don’t think Governor Noem can stop any scientific journals from publishing research… but I suppose she could exert pressure on the authors themselves to withdraw their submission.

  6. grudznick 2019-10-21 21:41

    Mr. Wick, I get the sweet baby Jeebus stuff, but please don’t tell me there are demons in the metal tubes. That is too much to swallow, or makes me think you are toking on the demon weed yourself.

  7. Clyde 2019-10-23 08:45

    Please help out your organic farmers.

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