Cerise Mayo expected better of her bees. She had raised them right, given them all the best opportunities ”” acres of urban farmland strewn with fruits and vegetables, a bounty of natural nectar and pollen. Blinded by devotion, she assumed they shared her values: a fidelity to the land, to food sources free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring.
And then this. Her bees, the ones she had been raising in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and on Governors Island since May, started coming home to their hives looking suspicious. Of course, it was the foragers ”” the adventurers, the wild waggle dancers, the social networkers incessantly buzzing about their business ”” who were showing up with mysterious stripes of color. Where there should have been a touch of gentle amber showing through the membrane of their honey stomachs was instead a garish bright red. The honeycombs, too, were an alarming shade of Robitussin.
“I thought maybe it was coming from some kind of weird tree, maybe a sumac,” said Ms. Mayo, who tends seven hives for Added Value, an education nonprofit in Red Hook. “We were at a loss.”
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