European authorities say pesticides pose honeybee threat

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Three widely used pesticides made by Syngenta and Bayer pose an acute risk to honeybees, according to the European Union’s food safety watchdog.

While it stopped short of linking them to bee colony collapse, the watchdog said harmful pesticide residues in the pollen and nectar of plants treated with neonicotinoid insecticides meant that they should only be used on crops not attractive to honeybees, such as sugar beet. That would exclude their use on maize, rapeseed and sunflower crops.

The three pesticides are clothianidin and imidacloprid, both primarily produced by Bayer CropScience, and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam, the active ingredient in Cruiser OSR. Bees also face an acute risk from exposure to drifting pesticide dust following sowing of cereal seeds treated with the chemicals, including wheat and barley, authorities said.

Bayer CropScience said the new findings contradict previous ones.

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