EU farmers face total ban on bee-harming pesticides

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European farmers are facing a total ban on a common group of pesticides after a report confirms they harm bees, putting pressure on Australia to follow.

The report published by the European Food Safety Authority [EFSA] analysed more than 1,500 studies and found three neonicotinoid pesticides posed a high risk to all bees.

In 2013 the European Union put a temporary ban on the chemicals that were commonly used in agriculture to treat seeds.

Research fellow at the University of New England Manu Saunders said the report confirmed what scientists expected.

"The risks are high and there is an issue of chronic exposure to neonicotinoids to not just honey bees but also wild bees and other pollinators," she said.

Despite the body of evidence Ms Saunders said the issue remained a controversial one.

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