Thursday, October 25, 2012

So What Got Into These Bees?

The Alsace region in northeastern France is famous for its fine white wines. But one town has become famous for a product it can’t sell. Alsatian bees are producing blue and green honey.

There are an estimated 2,400 beekeepers in the region, with 35,000 bee colonies that produce about 1,000 tons of honey a year. This year, in the town of Ribeauville, the bees suddenly began producing honey in shades of blue and green.

Mystified beekeepers eventually traced the odd tints to a biogas plant which processes waste from a Mars-owned plant nearby. Mars is American company that produces the well-known M&Ms candy. Apparently the bees mistook the residue for pollen and snapped it up for their own honey-making operations.

The company that owns the biogas plant says it discovered the problem at the same time that the beekeepers did and quickly took steps to store the waste in airtight (and presumably bee-tight) containers. The honey will not be marketed.

All of this does leave one question in my mind. Why didn’t those bees produce red honey?

Green Eggs and Ham, anyone?

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