Blue honey in Alsace gives green energy a new challenge

One of my alpine honeybees

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – I’m watching the healthy bees in my mountain garden with new respect after reading a number of French media reports about the strange episode of blue honeys being produced in Alsace.

Le Monde describes the situation best, saying morale was already pretty low for beekeepers, after a rough winter followed by a very rainy spring then too-dry summer.

And then in August in Ribeauvillé a number of beekeepers noticed that their bees were making blue or green or chocolate brown honey, in large quantities.

The mystery was solved at the same time that the source of the colours noticed the problem: a small company that opened in January 2012, Agrivalor, which is methanizing garbage to produce energy products, notably a biogas.

The garbage includes waste dumped by American sweets company Mars, which produces M&Ms in nearby Haguenau. The decomposing candies may have attracted the bees, which will seek out any easy source of honey.

The biogas company was started by three farmers. Mars has talked about its environmental track record, including waste going for energy production. But now the unhappy chain that no one predicted is raising difficult and as yet unanswered questions, such as whether or not the waste may include GM traces in the food wastes, which might then be picked up by the bees, reports Le Monde.

Also read: Reuters story in English