Once I got my pollen analysis from my first honey harvest, I was a bit disappointed that it was almost all from crepe myrtles instead of a wide spectrum of native Austin plants. However, after reading this article in the New York Times, it could have been a lot worse. Turns out urban beekeepers in Brooklyn were finding red “honey” in their hives, and it was eventually discovered the bees were raiding a local factory that makes maraschino cherries.
I think this is a good lesson on hive placement because bees are going to take the least path of resistance when gathering nectar. If they find an abundant food source close to the hive, they will take advantage of it. Unfortunately for these beekeepers, this food source was chock full of Red Dye No. 40. Obviously, a beekeeper can’t take into account everything within 3-5 miles of their hive, but knowing the area well will help you figure out these odd occurrences.
Here in Austin, we had a similar event except this time it was green honey instead of red. Our guesses were either cotton candy or snow cones/popsicles, but we never found out anything definitive.
2 responses to “Red Honey in Brooklyn”
I home school my daughter and we live in the Austin area (Dripping Springs). We’ve been studying about honeybees and I would love to take her on a fieldtrip to see all the things we have been reading about. Would you be open to that, or do you know some one who would be? Thank you for your time.
Thanks for reading. Right now the bees are getting ready for winter and I really won’t be doing too many more inspections. I think next April is going to be your best bet for more spring activity. The Austin Urban Beekeepers are planning on setting up a community hive next year so I would recommend joining the group and making plans to come up when they install their bees next spring.