<p dir="ltr"><strong>Beekeepers in northeastern <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/france-guide/">France</a> found themselves in a sticky situation after <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/honeybee/">bees</a> from their hives began producing honey in shades of blue and green (pictured). </strong></p><p><strong></strong></p><p>The colored honey could not be sold because it did not meet France's standards of honey production: It was not obtained from the nectar of plants and it deviates from the standard coloring of honey (nearly colorless to dark brown).</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>That's bad news for a region that produces a thousand tons of honey a year and has already had to cope with a high bee mortality rate and low honey production after a harsh winter. An investigation by beekeepers in the town of <a href="http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps/map-machine#s=r&amp;c=48.19416981756162, 7.322630643844599&amp;z=7">Ribeauville (map)</a> uncovered the cause of the problem: Instead of collecting nectar from flowers, local bees were feeding on remnants of colored M&amp;M candy shells, which were being processed by a biogas plant roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) away.</p><p>The waste-processing plant discovered the problem at the same time the beekeepers did and quickly cleaned any outdoor or uncovered containers that M&amp;M waste was stored in. The candy remains will now be stored in a covered hall.</p><p>(Also see: <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/03/120316-hot-bee-balls-hornets-insects-brains-animals-science/">"'Hot Bee Balls' Cook Enemy Hornets—But How Do Bees Endure the Heat?"</a>)</p><p><em>—Kate Andries</em></p>

Colorful Honey

Beekeepers in northeastern France found themselves in a sticky situation after bees from their hives began producing honey in shades of blue and green (pictured).

The colored honey could not be sold because it did not meet France's standards of honey production: It was not obtained from the nectar of plants and it deviates from the standard coloring of honey (nearly colorless to dark brown).

That's bad news for a region that produces a thousand tons of honey a year and has already had to cope with a high bee mortality rate and low honey production after a harsh winter. An investigation by beekeepers in the town of Ribeauville (map) uncovered the cause of the problem: Instead of collecting nectar from flowers, local bees were feeding on remnants of colored M&M candy shells, which were being processed by a biogas plant roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) away.

The waste-processing plant discovered the problem at the same time the beekeepers did and quickly cleaned any outdoor or uncovered containers that M&M waste was stored in. The candy remains will now be stored in a covered hall.

(Also see: "'Hot Bee Balls' Cook Enemy Hornets—But How Do Bees Endure the Heat?")

—Kate Andries

Photograph by Vincent Kessler, Reuters

Pictures: Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees

Mysterious blue and green honey comes from honeybees feeding off remnants of M&M candy shells.

Read This Next

Planet circling a burned-out star offers a glimpse at the solar system's fate
This 50-year project is tracking the Cascades' melting glaciers
The Peruvian Amazon's largest wildlife market is back in business

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet