The French government is planning to ban a widely used agricultural pesticide in order to protect bees.
Made by a Swiss company, it is called Cruiser OSR, and it is coated onto the seeds of rape plants.
Bees are vital to agriculture for pollinating crops, but worldwide populations have declined sharply in recent years.
French scientists believe a molecule in Cruiser can confuse the bees with fatal consequences.
Mickael Henry from France’s National Institute of Agronomic Research said: “These disorientated bees that get lost in the environment are bound to die because they cannot survive out of their colony.”
Syngenta, which makes Cruiser OSR, has two weeks to submit its own evidence before any French ban is implemented.
Rapeseed farmer Alain Guedin said: “I reckon that the treated seeds are less harmful for the environment than particles that are sprayed in the air.”
Syngenta claims no cases of bee mortality have been identified as being linked to Cruiser even though 650,000 hectares of treated seeds are grown in France.