19 Oct 2012

funny honey

Photo and Video by Shar Levine, taken in Vernon, BC at Planet Honey.

In my book, "Paperbook and Papermaker", I wrote about wasps who were given colored paper to munch on and who, in turn, produced rainbow colored nests in the confines of the scientist's screened sunroom. I'm certain the scientist's wife was less than pleased to have this experiment buzzing around her home, but that's a different story and I digress.

Flash forward to summer of 2012 when bees in France began creating colorful honey.  Andre Frieh, an apiarist who lives near Colmar in the eastern part of France, was stunned to discover that honey from his hives was technicolor shades of blue and green.  Fingers were soon pointed towards the local M and M candy factory where residue from containers was thought to be the cause of the unique shades.

As any honey lover knows- describing something as "honey colored" can have different meanings. Honey can be light yellow to deep amber, or almost brown.  It has different flavors depending on the kinds of flowers bees were visiting. There's Buckwheat, MacNut, Clover, you name it.

While it might seem shocking to know that bees will be drawn to junk food, this is not the first time the insects have chosen artificial over natural sugars.

In November of 2010, bees near the Dell's Maraschino Cherry Company in Red Hook, New York began producing red colored honey.  Samples sent to test labs confirmed that the honey contained Red Dye No. 40, which is, as we all know, the color that gives maraschino cherries their vibrant look.

If bees don't know they ought not to be eating junk food, what hope is there for the rest of us?

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