A new study provides the first evidence of a link between neonicotinoid pesticides and escalating honeybee colony losses on a landscape level.

The study found the increased use of a pesticide, which is linked to causing serious harm in bees worldwide, as a seed treatment on oilseed rape in England and Wales over an 11 year period correlated with higher bee mortality during that time.

The research, published in Nature scientific reports on Thursday, combined large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with data on honeybee loses between 2000 and 2010.

The total area of land planted with oil seed rape in England and Wales more than doubled from 293, 378 hectares (724,952 acres) to 602,270 hectares over that time and the number of seeds treated with the imidacloprid pesticide increased from less than 1% of the area planted in 2000 to more than 75% of the area planted with oilseed rape by 2010.

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