Pharmaceutical giant Bayer has said it has put forward proposals for extra protections for bees after initially accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of overestimating the harm caused to the vital pollinators by a widely used pesticide.
A preliminary risk assessment released by the EPA last week found that that imidacloprid, one of the world’s most common pesticides, can cause honeybee populations to fall in some circumstances.
The agency determined that imidacloprid in nectar at levels of 25 parts per billion or above were harmful to colonies, which have suffered an alarming decline in abundance over the past year.
Bayer, a dominant player in the neonicotinoid pesticide market, initially said the report “appears to overestimate the potential for harmful exposures in certain crops, such as citrus and cotton, while ignoring the important benefits these products provide and management practices to protect bees”.
But the company has now clarified its stance, telling the Guardian that it believes the assessment is “quite good and scientifically sound”. A spokesman said Bayer will look to work with the EPA to reduce risks to bees.