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.