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Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Thursday, 13 December 2012

Are pesticides harming UK bees?

Evidence presented to the Environmental Audit Committee suggests a link between the widespread use of a popular pesticide and the decline in the bee population.

Today programme science reporter Tom Feilden explained that this is about the impact that these chemicals are having on pollinating insects like bees.

The worry is about the "long term accumulation of the chemicals in the soil", he added.

Dr Julian Little, the spokesman for Bayer Crop Science in the UK, said that it is "very disappointing that the committee has decided to focus on one small set of data."

In the experiments "the exposure rates were much higher than what bumblebees would see in the wild", he insisted.

He went on to concede that "there is always the possibility of a link" but added "that is why we take a very precautionary approach to use of these products... making sure that bees do not come into contact with these products in a level that would cause any problems."

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