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Maraschino Cherry Bees

Last week, I linked to the story about the bees producing red honey because the were gathering syrup from a Maraschino Cherry Factory–bees going for high fructose corn syrup, go figure.

There’s an article over at The Grist about one of their writers went for a blind honey taste test to see if she could taste the difference between various honeys, including corn syrup honey.  Turns out, it was not as flavorful as some of the other honeys she tried.

It makes me wonder if urban bees will find other ways to access corn syrup and would people notice?  This one was discovered because the bees brought back red dye with them.  But what if some other candy factory out there doesn’t have dyes?  Or will some crazy person out there think, “You know what, we can totally market this!  What if we put out vats of corn syrup with blue dye and we get bees to make Smurf Honey?”  Jokes have been made that the red honey looks like the beekeepers have vampire bees or zombie bees and I wonder if someone out there will find a market for blood red cherry honey?

As I was pondering this, I found another article from The Grist about the Maraschino Cherry Factory’s response to the bees using their syrup.  The owner of the factory, Arthur Mondello did offer to provide different shades of syrup so that the bees could make rainbow-hued honey.  The beekeeper response was not favorable to that idea–that’s not “true” honey and quite frankly, initial taste tests show that it’s not that tasty anyway.

According to the story, Mondello is ready to go the extra mile and do what he can to prevent bees from harvesting the syrup.  The Grist reported that the problem is that cherry syrup spills when vats are moved around.  Once bees discovered the ample syrup supply, they soon found ways of bypassing the shrink wrap that covered the vats as well.  So, Mondello is looking into several options to block the bees, including covering the vats with vinegar soaked fabric to mask the sweet aroma.

It’s an interesting series of articles, definitely check them out at The Grist.

6 comments to Maraschino Cherry Bees

  • This is definitely topical as some research is showing that bees will down regulate certain genes when on a diet of HFCS. Hope a solution that works for the bees and everyone else is found soon.

  • Forget smurf honey. Lorraine and you should so make purple honey. It would not win you a ribbon at the fair but it would be so cool.

  • Erika

    I’m impressed that the owner of the cherry company was so willing to take steps to protect the bees. In this day and age, I would as soon expect him to sue for theft of corn syrup.

  • Very interesting. I can’t imagine red, blue or any other color honey looking as appetizing as the original golden. I’ll stick to the way nature intended it.

  • While this is a really interesting story, I think I’ll stick with the natural golden honey that tastes good! Besides, we already have plenty of different atrificial syrup flavors/colors to satisfy that food color aesthetic on a stack of pancakes.

  • I would have never thought of this happening…you are a wealth of information…kinda like me and cats.