GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hurricane Michael significantly impacted the beekeeping industry in the Florida Panhandle. This area is home to about 500 registered beekeepers and nearly 50,000 colonies, which amounts to more than 1.2 billion bees. These colonies are vital to Florida agriculture because the bees provide pollination services to many of the state’s crops.
Beekeepers in the Florida Panhandle are racing to save their colonies as many forage resources — blooming trees and flowers — were destroyed in the hurricane. Furthermore, many of the colonies have been destroyed, damaged or otherwise cannot be accessed due to the hurricane.
How can you help?
- The Florida State Beekeepers Association (FSBA) established a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/fsba-beekeeper-hurricane-relief. All monetary donations are tax-deductible and will be used to purchase supplies needed by the affected beekeepers.
- Beekeepers may need help working their colonies once they are able to access their apiaries. Thus, beekeepers, and beekeepers only, are encouraged to contact the FSBA hotline (985-664-9606) to be added to a volunteer list. Volunteer beekeepers are encouraged to bring all relevant beekeeping equipment, such as personal protective equipment, heavy equipment and chainsaws, when or if invited to assist.
It is important to know that there is limited or no access to some areas impacted by the hurricane. Secondary and lower roads will retain debris for an extended time. Travel priority must be given to first responders, the power companies and associated emergency personnel. Furthermore, various curfews may be in place in certain areas. Thus, you should contact the FSBA hotline BEFORE making any trip to or offering any assistance in the affected area.
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