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M&M waste turns bees' honey blue

Waste from a candy factory in France is turning honey blue.
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Beekeepers near Alsace, France say waste from an M&M factory nearby is changing the color of the honey produced by their bees. (JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Bees in northern France may have been getting bored of producing a pale brown honey and have decided to mix up their color palate.

Not really, but the reality is almost as strange.

Beekeepers in the Alsace region of France have reported that their bees are producing blue and green honey after ingesting dye from a nearby factory that processes M&M waste.

The beekeepers noticed something funny was going on when their bees started bringing a colorful substance back to their hives. 

Time magazine reports that the sugary-happy bees are snacking on sweet, vibrantly colored waste from the plant, operated by the company Agrivalor some 2.5 miles away from their apiaries.

Agrivalor told Reuters that it addressed the problem as soon as it was notified by the beekeepers. 

"We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it," Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor, told Reuters.

He said the company had cleaned its containers and incoming waste would now be kept covered. 

Mars, the maker of the colorful candies, operates a chocolate factory near Strasbourg, around 62 miles away.

Customers won't be able to taste the multi-colored honey and the unsellable product will cause more headaches for France's beekeepers. 

Bee populations have been falling, reports the Independent, and the problem is so bad that the French government has banned one pesticide linked to the high mortality rates.

There are around 2,400 beekeepers in the Alsace region, who reportedly tend to some 35,000 colonies and produce around 1,000 tons of honey a year.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/mm-waste-turns-bees-honey-blue