The small town of Ribeauville that lies on a scenic wine route southwest of Strasbourg, France is known for two things - Its vineyards and 35,000 bee colonies that produce more than 1,000 metric tons of delicious amber honey each year. However, since August, while the honey has been as delicious as ever, it has lost its amber hue and instead taken on strange shades of blue, green and even red!
Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation to see what was causing the sudden change in color. While it took a few months, they believe the mystery has finally been solved. Turns out that just about 2.5 miles away from the hives lies a biogas station which processes waste from a Mars confectionery plant that manufactures - You guessed it - brightly colored M&M's!
The British Beekeepers Association believes that due to a harsh 2011-2012 winter, the bees had a hard time foraging for honey, leading them to look for alternate sources of sugar. That's probably when they discovered the colorful sweet liquid waste that the company stored in large bins outside the plant.
The biogas company has now changed their procedures so that any incoming waste is stored in covered rooms to which the bees have no access to. While that will definitely help going forward, the poor beekeepers are scratching their heads about what to do with all the colored M&M honey that nobody wants to purchase.
The news is not particularly good for the rest of us as well. With bee colonies disappearing all around the world, the golden liquid is quite precious to begin with - Losing more, just adds to the dire situation.