March 19, 2010 / 6:06 AM / 9 years ago

The bees did it: Taiwan solves yellow goop mystery

A bee collects pollen in a crocus on a warm day in the Botanical Garden in Geneva March 18, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - After being stung by complaints, Taiwanese officials have traced the mysterious yellow gunk that has splattered cars and laundry for weeks to a seasonal influx of bees, and their droppings.

Bees attracted to farms and plant nurseries near the densely populated city of Kaohsiung have smothered a neighborhood with their droppings since February, alarming and irritating residents who could not figure out where the mess was coming from.

Chen Kung-fu, a vice section chief with the municipal environmental protection unit, said on Friday an investigation was launched into the matter after residents complained of splodges on almost every parked car as well as clothes left outside to dry.

The bee count should decline in April after flower season, Chen said, but until then, there is nothing the authorities can do to divert the insects away from homes.

“Bees are hard to stop because of their flight speed,” Chen said. “But the feces can’t hurt people. We can confirm that.”

Widespread urban development in wildlife rich Taiwan has pushed into the island’s farms and sub-tropical forests, making human contact with flora and fauna common.

Reporting by Ralph Jennings, editing by Miral Fahmy

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