A "striking" difference in honey bee survival rates between the east and west of Scotland has been recorded by scientists, prompting calls for greater action to tackle the decline of the species.
A team at the University of Dundee studied more than 600 colonies across the country in 2011/12.
Of 274 colonies examined in the east of the country, 58, or 21%, failed. By contrast, just 14 of 286 colonies failed in the west, a smaller decline of about 5%.
Scientists believe the presence of intensive agriculture and large areas of oilseed rape in the east could be linked to the poorer results for the area.
But they criticised the way data on pesticide use is, or rather is not, gathered, saying the current system makes it impossible to properly determine what is causing honey bees to die.
The study was carried out with the help of members of the Scottish Beekeepers Association.
Dr Christopher Connolly, who led the research, said he was stunned by the findings.
He said: "It's a fantastic lead. If only we knew what was being used in those places."
Analysing the figures, Dr Connolly, of the university's division of neuroscience, said: "What we do have in the east and not the west is intensive agriculture.
"It could be that the lack of natural habitat is the cause. It may be that bees and other pollinators may not be getting such a balanced diet."