LONDON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- There is a growing body of evidence that pesticides may be responsible for a decline in world bee populations, British environmental groups say.
Groups including Britain's Soil Association and Buglife are calling for an end to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, among the most common worldwide, the Guardian newspaper reports.
A study published in the journal Toxicology says effects on bees of neonicotinoid pesticides have been underestimated and could explain worrying declines in bee populations.
Even low concentrations of the pesticides may be more deadly then previously thought due to their high persistence in soil and water, the study said.
"If the honeybee disappeared off the surface of the globe forever we'd be facing up to an unimaginable food crisis," a Soil Association spokesman said. "This latest research only adds to the evidence that is already strong enough to justify an immediate ban on neonicotinoids today."
Environmental groups say they will continue to pressure retailers and the U.K. government to withdraw the pesticides from the market.