Imagine waking up, putting on your beekeeper suit and starting you day of honey harvesting. Then imagine staring at a hive in shock when you see that the the classic yellow syrup looks like what you'd use to glaze over a cake!
After some investigating, they found the source: a biogas plant about two miles away. It was processing waste coming from a Mars candy factory, which included the shells of M&Ms. The waste was seeping into the surrounding area!
Bees, of course, love getting nectar from flowers. Changes in urban environments and agricultural systems are causing dangerous declines in the number of flowers. According to a 2015 paper, there has been a 60% drop over 60 years in North America.
Bees don't have strong mouths, so they can't break through the good fruits filled with juice. They're more like scavengers sometimes, picking off what larger insects have broken up. And with little to no flowers for nectar, they go for the next best thing — the sugary azure waste from the plant.
This was a big problem for the industry in the area. According to Alain Frieh, the president of the apiculturists' union, the blue honey can't be sold even though it taste the same. People wouldn't shake off the idea of buying a cerulean byproduct of waste, even if it was sweet.
Beekeepers in Europe are already dealing with massive bee mortality rates. No single cause can be placed on the global decline in bee population, but that, along with harsher winters, are making for dangerously low honey production.
We have to make sure regulations for local plants are tip-top so we don't end up with pink, purple or vermilion colored honey next time. Pesticides are putting the lives of bees at risk. It's time we make a stronger effort in protecting the little buzzers from them. If we don't, well, what will there be to farm, anyway?