i hope this question fits here.

In my local nature reserve there is an "art" project... but the local population has it's concerns.

Seeing most things seem to be random trash thrown in (like the engine of an old oil tanker).

One of those art projects is this giant ball of sugar and food coloring... (no further detail given on what it is made of)

The "art" in question: enter image description here

Does this...sugarball pose any danger to the local fauna/flora?

(the landscape is moors, with some forest area's. Animals include Deer, cows, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, foxes, snakes, frogs, lizards and a large variety of bugs)

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting ; What will get it first? Ants, or other animals like deer and rats, etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @blacksmith37 local fauna includes most bugs, squirrels, foxes, snakes, lizards, frogs, deer, sheep, cows, goats, donkeys, horses... the farm animals are used to keep the grass low...because they want it to be as natural as possible... $\endgroup$
    – A.bakker
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 16:08
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Is it possible the food coloring is a greater risk to the environment than the sugar? $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ take a sledgehammer to it, and only put out few pieces at a time, the local animals will love it without putting enough into the ground to kill off large amounts of plants. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ @John the nature reserve has 3 towns around it... already rumors that the youth is going to have a competition to take out those things and bring the husks back to the town center :| (This thing is envoirmentally speaking not even the worst... (sustainability.stackexchange.com/questions/10729/…) $\endgroup$
    – A.bakker
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 8:57

3 Answers 3


Sugar can be used as a weed killer, particularly broad leaf weeds, rather than grasses or perennials. It is a carbon nutrient that contains no nitrogen. Sugar can limit the growth of plant that do not tolerate low nitrogen environments.

This is because microorganisms in soil are forced to source their necessary nitrogen from soil. This leaves little for weed growth.

The other effect of high sugar concentrations on plants is,

If you feed your plant a strong solution of sugar water, you create a situation in which the water outside its cells has a higher percentage of soluble material than does the water inside. The direction of osmosis reverses, causing water to exit plant cells or not be able to enter in the first place. The plant begins to die.

As for the effect on animals, some animals will be attracted by the sugar, causing them to frequent the area for a sugar fix. Such animals could fall prey to cunning foxes.


If there are any beehives in the area, it's likely the bees will discover this and go to it preferentially over other sources of sugars. That will reduce their utility to the beekeeper by removing their pollinating effects and by filling the combs with artificial honey that is likely an unappetizing color to boot. Finally, it's possible that the ingredients of the gobstopper (high fructose corn syrup) will be harmful to them:

Due to the ease of handling HFCS over mixing sucrose solutions and cheaper pricing, the use of HFCS for bee feed increased rapidly. However, questions about the safety of HFCS as a bee food were raised soon after it became available, because beekeepers reported mixed results from feeding it (Bailey 1966; Johansson and Johansson 1976, 1977; Anonymous 1996). In addition, researchers found decreased longevity in worker bees maintained in the laboratory on HFCS as compared to honey (Barker and Lehner 1978) or to sucrose syrup (Weiss 2009).


I had an 2 hour meeting with the local park ranger about this and the other exhibits, the ball is getting removed due to a high number of insects (mainly butterflies and moths) getting stuck on it and dying.


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