How bees feasting on M&M's from nearby factory made BLUE honey that baffled French beekeepers

BAFFLED beekeepers were left in a real sticky situation – when their insects started producing BLUE honey.

Bees at several colonies in parts of northern France had mysteriously been producing honey in mysterious shades for months.

It was soon discovered leftovers from containers of M&M sweets being processed at a nearby biogas plant were to blame.

Beekeepers near Ribeauville, in Alsace, noticed bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colourful substances which quickly turned their honey unnatural shades.

They launched an investigation and found a factory two miles away has been processing waste from a nearby plant producing M&M's –  sweets in bright coloured shells.

However, the honey proved a real headache for around a dozen affected beekeepers because they just couldn't sell it, said Alain Frieh, president of the apiculturists’ union.

The story first hit the headlines in 2014, but is recirculating on social media after pics of the blue honey emerged via a science site.

Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being contacted by the concerned beekeepers.

“We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,” Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor, told Reuters.

He said the company cleaned its containers and all future incoming waste was then stored in a covered hall.

Mars operated a chocolate factory near Strasbourg, around 60 miles away from the affected apiaries at the time.

Bee numbers have been rapidly declining around the world in the last few years and the French government has banned a widely used pesticide linked to high mortality rates.

France is one of the largest producers of honey within the European Union, producing some 18,330 tonnes annually.

Ribeauville, situated on a scenic wine route southwest of Strasbourg, is best known for its vineyards.



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However,  living aside winemakers are about 2,400 beekeepers in Alsace who tend some 35,000 colonies and produce about 1,000 tonnes of honey per year.

As for the M&M’s-infused honey, union head Frieh said it may have taste like honey, but that was where the comparison stopped.

“For me, it’s not honey. It’s not sellable,” he said.

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