Known systematically as 2-heptanone, this substance is a colorless, water-white liquid that gives off a fruity aroma not unlike bananas. As a food additive, 2-heptanone is actually a naturally occurring substance in certain foods and beverages such as beer, bread, cheese and to potato chips. Honey bees also excrete this substance when biting tiny pests such as wax moth larva and Varroa mites that invade their hives. Once thought to be an alarm pheromone to alert other bees in the hive, 2-heptanone actually functions more like an anesthetic to these hive invaders. Bees apparently use this substance to knock out pests and then eject them from the hive and preserve their food supply. Due to its potential as an alternative local anesthetic to lidocaine (which has a high potential to trigger allergic reactions), researchers are currently conducting studies on 2-heptanone to see if it can produce similar effects in concentration when applied topically.