Sacrebleu! French Honeybees Produce Mysterious Blue Honey

Nov 30, 2012 by


This is why I adore bees. According to a Time article in October, French beekeepers started finding blue and green honey in their bees' honeycomb and were completely baffled as to why. As amazing as this story is, I have to feel bad for those French apiarists, who have been struggling to survive Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) since 2007 and fighting the French government to ban the imidacloprid insecticide, a possible culprit. On top of that, the region suffered from a particularly harsh winter that resulted in low honey production. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, they open up their hives, pull out their frames, and this is what they find:

Photo Credit: National Geographic (link below)

Quelle horreur! or...better yet: Sacrebleu! Okay, sorry to make fun of the situation, because this had a serious impact on French farmers,'ll never guess why the bees are producing blue honey. It's not a virus, it's not a strange disease, it's not a GM blue flower, oh no, it's... M&M's. Apparently a Mars processing plant located 2.5 miles away from where the hives were located was processing waste from M&M factories. Because the M&M shells were exposed to the open air and the previous heavy winter had resulted in a loss of nectar, these resourceful bees found the M&M waste sugar source, gobbled it up, and produced the strange blue and green syrup that the beekeepers found in their hives. The downside is that French beekeepers cannot sell this honey because, technically, it isn't honey. According to a French law, honey must come from plant nectar and conform to a standard color. Once the community figured out the source of the problem, the factory agreed to clean out the open vats and store the M&M waste indoors. But you can't help but appreciate the weird factor of this story, and admire the bees' pluckiness to harvest whatever food they can find. I can't imagine this tagline will ever catch on, but here's to hoping: M&M's: They melt in your honeycomb, not in your hand. Check out more photos in this National Geo article on the topic.   Sources: Reuter's: Time: National Geographic: Link above  


  1. Ah ha, it seems bees will do anything for a free lunch! This sounds very much like the New York bees in Red Hook in 2010 who started producing red honey – there was a maraschino cherry factory around the corner. Sadly the honey was inedible.

  2. New York Times story about the red bees of Red Hook here

  3. It is a pity the French beekeepers were unable to sell their honey – it could have been a great novelty item. In late 2010, some bees in New York started producing red honey (like cough syrup). That twist was attributed to a nearby cherry factory!

  4. The Tasty Buzz

    That is such a cool story! I’ll check out the news article. Thanks for responding to my post! Are you a beekeeper, Rachel?

  5. The Tasty Buzz

    Yeah, yeah, another user just posted the link! I’ll include it in the article–it’s so crazy!

  6. Kim

    Sad, but how resourceful of the bees at the same time.

    Perfect example how we have to be careful of what we do in terms of being consciencious of the impact of our actions on the environment.

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