Neonicotinoids, or #neonics as twitter has it, are a family of neuro-active pesticides believed to be harmful to wildlife.
Neonicotinoid use has been under ever-increasing scrutiny since the late 2000s, when they were first linked to potential environmental impacts including honey-bee colony collapse disorder. But pressure has recently kicked up a notch, after The Guardian newspaper published research last month demonstrating for the first time the knock-on effects to other species, and implicating neonicotinoids in the recent fall in farmland bird populations.
However, neonicotinoids make up almost a third of pesticides used worldwide, and are so effective some argue that their use is crucial to maintaining food security.
Whilst government, scientists, and farmers debate the cause of the decline in pollinator species and best way to mitigate it, activists across the web are calling for an outright ban on neonicotinoid use. The social media conversation around neonicotinoids is currently generating in excess of 2million impressions per day and shows no sign of waning.