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Together We Can Save a Billion Florida Honey Bees From Starvation

Hurricane Michael inflicted an immense amount of damage to the Florida Panhandle last week. Not only were many homes, buildings, and roads destroyed, but the hurricane’s 155 mph winds also decimated the state’s flowering plant life. Honey bees have nothing to eat with countless trees, bushes, and flowers flattened. After Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, at least 75,000 of Florida’s 600,000 bee colonies were affected. Thousands of bees died of starvation, and their colonies collapsed. We’re working to ensure a tragedy like that doesn’t happen again.

Hungry bees in a Florida hive

Hungry honey bees in a Florida hive

With your help, we’re sending seven tanker trucks full of sugar syrup to the impact zone, saving honey bees from starvation. GreaterGood.org’s Rescue Bank program has partnered with the Florida State Beekeepers Association and the Florida State Department of Agriculture to get more than a billion bees what they need. Our partners at IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) have stepped in to cover the cost of one of the tankers and Cargill has generously donated two additional tankers. Sugar syrup is the crucial lifeline that beekeepers need to keep their colonies alive after the hurricane.

Hungry bees eating syrup as soon as it arrived.

Nearby honey bees knew when the syrup arrived; they flew in to start eating as soon as they could.

Why We Need Bees

Honey bees don’t just produce honey. These bees are a crucial part of our environment and the economy—in Florida and across the country. Honey bees in the US pollinate $15 billion worth of crops a year, including citrus, berry, melon, stone fruit, and almond crops. Many hives travel across the country, from Maine to California. One hive might move as many as 22 times across nearly 100,000 miles during the course of a year. The bees need to build up strength for their cross-country trek, so they spend winters in Florida’s warm climate.

Jennifer Holmes, president of the Florida State Beekeepers Association, says that honey bees from neighboring states—and some from as far as Michigan and Wisconsin—are currently in Florida. October is the beginning of the winter season for the bees, which is why Hurricane Michael was so catastrophic for Florida beekeepers. It hit at the worst time as they’re trying to rest and feed their hives. Now, these beekeepers are racing to make sure the hives don’t starve.

The Process:

First, tankers must be filled with sugar syrup and dispatched to the impact zone.

Tanker's arrival in the Florida staging area

Tanker’s arrival in the Florida staging area

Then, smaller containers head to areas which need it most. Many roads still need clearing, so some beekeepers can’t come directly to the tanker. Trucks with these containers are heading out to smaller cities like Chipley, Florida.

Volunteers fill containers of syrup for distribution.

Volunteers fill containers of syrup for distribution.

Finally, individual beekeepers can receive the syrup they need to feed their hungry hives.

Syrup headed to bees.

Syrup headed to bees.

This week, we’ve been able to send three tanker trucks into the impact zone. Help us make sure the rest get where they need to go. Plants won’t start to flower again for another month, and trees have become stressed from the cycles of hurricane season, so we need to keep up the support until the honey bees can forage for themselves.

We can stop local hives from starving, and make sure colonies will be strong enough to pollinate crops all over Florida and the rest of the country when the winter season is over.

Local Florida bee hives.

Local Florida bee hives that you’ve helped feed!

Help save bees from starvation!  Just $15 will feed 25 colonies for a day! Click here to donate!



A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the division of consumer services by calling toll-free 1-800-HELP-FLA or online at www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com.
Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state. Registration #: CH47961

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