Brits Unravel Bee-Deviling Mystery

A productive colony of bees is seen in this undated photo. Beekeepers say a mysterious disease, possibly parasites or a virus, has wiped out nearly half of their bee colonies in Alabama, cutting honey production. Without a cure, fruit and vegetable crops depending on bees for pollination could also be reduced. AP

Residents of a small western English town feared the yellow droplets on their cars and outdoor furniture contained sulfur, or something worse, emitted by nearby factories.

Researchers found a more benign explanation on Thursday. The strangely colorful liquid spots were bee droppings filled with pollen, they said.

"Apparently it is quite a common phenomenon and natural behavior for bees leaving the hive after they've digested pollen on 'cleansing flights,"' said Alan Trevelyan, an Environment Agency spokesman.

"We do see some unusual things in this job but this is one of the most interesting and we are glad to be able to reassure the residents of Watchet that their strange yellow dots are, in fact harmless bee poo."

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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