A new bees and pesticides study by the Government's Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) released today links losses of honey bee colonies with the use of the neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid, one of the pesticides covered by a European ban since 1 December 2013.
Friends of the Earth's bees campaigner, Paul de Zylva, said:
"This blows apart the denials of the pesticides and industrial farming lobby that pesticides are safe for honey bees. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that neonicotinoid pesticides harm honey bees and wild bees alike.
"Since the ban on the use of neonic pesticides started, ten independent studies and reviews have added to the weight of evidence that they harm wild bees.
"The average UK arable field is treated with twenty chemicals in a year – there have been no tests for the cocktail effect this has on either honey bees or more susceptible wild bees.
"The study also raises further doubt that using neonic pesticides boosts yields. Last year saw a bumper crop of oil-seed rape and that looks set to be repeated this year – all pollinated by bees and grown without banned neonics."
More on the study can be found on the Fera website .