M&M-Colored Honey Makes French Beekeepers See Red

M&M's
M&M's
Flickr/mortsan

We all know that bees are attracted to colorful flowers -- but colorful candy shells that melt in your mouth, not in your hand?

Bees are irritating normally sanguine French beekeepers because the insects are gathering sugar from a nearby M&M waste plant and coloring their honey in rainbow shades of green, red and sacre bleu! Um, blue.

Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace have seen bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colorful substances that have turned their honey shades not seen in nature, Reuters reports. (Maybe these rainbow-loving bees just have a different kind of, er, queen ruling their hives?)

The mystified beekeepers started investigating, and discovered that a biogas plant 2.5 miles away from their apiaries has been processing waste from a Mars plant producing M&M's.

Agrivalor, the company operating the waste plant, said it tried to stop bees from stealing M&M's after being notified of the problem by the beekeepers. He said the company had cleaned its containers and incoming candy waste would now be stored in an enclosed hall.

There are about 2,400 beekeepers in Alsace who tend some 35,000 colonies and produce about 1,000 tons of honey per year, according to the region's chamber of agriculture.

The M&M's-tainted honey is a new headache for about a dozen affected beekeepers already dealing with high bee mortality rates and dwindling honey supplies following a harsh winter, said Alain Frieh, president of the apiculturists' union.

Although it tastes the same as regular honey, "For me, it's not honey. It's not sellable," Frieh said.

Don't be so glum, Frenchies! Just ship that rainbow-brite honey over here to America! We love that kind of crap -- we're the people who eat green and purple ketchup!


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