The European Union hopes a two-year ban on three of the world’s most widely-used agricultural pesticides can reverse the decline in bees and other pollinators. (Photo: Adam Vanbergen))
The European Union hopes a two-year ban on three of the world’s most widely-used agricultural pesticides can reverse the decline in bees and other pollinators. (Photo: Adam Vanbergen))

BRUSSELS - European Union countries backed a proposal Friday to extend a partial ban on the use of insecticides known as neonicotinoids that studies have shown are harmful to bees.

The full outdoor ban will be on the use of three active substances: imidacloprid, developed by Bayer CropScience; clothianidin, developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience; as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam.

“All outdoor uses will be banned and the neonicotinoids in question will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where exposure of bees is not expected,” the European Commission said in a statement.\