Remember the story about the mysteriously red bees? Well — big surprise — it turns out that bees are just as drawn to artificial sweeteners as humans are. Bees from several local hives were caught dipping into the red maraschino cherry juice at the Dell factory in Red Hook. Now, OnEarth is reporting that the company and beekeepers are working together to keep the bees out of the cherries and the cherry juice off the bees.
The bees have returned to their natural black and yellow color, but to keep the bees out of the red juice, a few approaches are being taken. Apparently, the bees were dipping into the cherries during a part of the process when bins of fruit marinating in syrup are transported, uncovered, from one warehouse to another. The factory is considering draping the syrup bins in heavy, fabric sheets soaked in vinegar, which would mask the smell of the syrup without harming the bees or the cherries. It’s also considering building a wooden and mesh locker to transport the bins. Also, placing sugar syrup feeders on the factory’s roof might help distract the bees from the red juice below.
In any case, it looks like this problem is easy to solve … unlike the other major threat to bees that has emerged in recent years — colony collapse — which is still being studied by scientists.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 3, 2010