Neonicotinoid insecticides are considered the the fastest-growing class of insecticides in modern crop protection since the introduction of pyrethroids, with widespread use against a broad spectrum of sucking and several chewing pests. Seven structurally different neonicotinoid insecticides are commercially availabale. They act selectively as agonists on insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), their molecular target site, with little or no binding to vertebrate receptors. Because of the relatively low risk for non-target organisms and environment, the high target-specificity of neonicotinoid insecticides and their versatility in application methods, this important class has to be maintained globally for sustainable integrated pest management strategies and insect resistance management programmes. Combined with innovative concepts for life-cycle management such as optimized formulations, neonicotinoids will be the most important chemical class within the next few years for the control of some of the globally most destructive pest insects in many agronomic cropping systems.