Sacre Bleu! The Not So Busy Bees of Ribeauville Alsace.

I’m very proud of this photo. It was taken in my father’s garden. The apple and cherry trees were in bloom, and masses of honeybees were pollinating the blossoms. In a moment of weakness I challenged myself to take a photo. Of a bee. Pollinating a blossom.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no photographer, I just take my trusty iPhone, point it at my subject, try very hard to get an interesting angle, shoot and hope for the best. I struggle with the concepts of light, brightness and contrast. I know they’re important, but its all so foreign to me. An acquaintance has suggested to me that perhaps I should invest in a digital SLR camera. Maybe its something Santa could leave for me under the tree this year? As long as it doesn’t require a PhD to operate I’ll be happy.

This might not be the best photo ever taken and there’s probably a million things wrong with it but its the culmination of 2 hours spent under a tree, warily watching those bees praying I wouldn’t be stung. It may have been a beautiful day; but the gentle, spring breeze played havoc with the blossoms, and the bees were so very busy darting in and out of the flowers. So busy in fact that despite frantically snapping away, I had great difficulty capturing those elusive bees in all but a handful of frames.

I’ve never really given much thought to bees. I love honey on toast, with my porridge for breakfast, in dressings, glazes and marinades. I used to even make a mean batch of  honeycomb. Basking in the glory of my photo, my interest in bees was piqued by a rather interesting radio news bulletin. The curious case of the not so busy bees of Ribeauville, Alsace and their strangely hued honey.

It seems that in France whole colonies of sugar crazed bees have been  picking up coloured, sugary waste from a nearby M&M candy processing plant and producing vibrant green and blue honey! Strange but absolutely true and happening right now. Google it if you don’t believe me. Here’s a photo of the comb uploaded from a Reuters news feed on the internet.

And another of the honey!

As you can imagine the French bee keepers are up in arms over this issue and say this honey is unsellable. I’m not quite sure what this says about French bees, are they lazy or just efficient, choosing the easy option of  gorging on candy waste over fields of flowers. And what does it says about the bigger picture. Have we polluted the natural environment to such an extent that the humble honey bee needs to resort to artificial, man made waste to fulfil its natural instincts?  Hopefully this isn’t symbolic of the fate of bees worldwide.

Time to take a trip down memory lane and resurrect that honeycomb recipe.

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