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Tanker trucks of syrup, pollen donated to beekeepers to save 1.6B bees impacted by Ian

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Posted at 7:19 PM, Oct 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-21 21:39:35-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Hundreds of Florida beekeepers have come to Winter Haven seeking help after losing tens of thousands of colonies when Hurricane Ian unleashed powerful winds and rain.

B. Keith Councell owns several bee yards in southwest Florida. He said 2,800 of his bees have been wiped out.

“It’s devastating, it’s our livelihood. It’s what we do, what we’ve done for generations,” said Councell.

Councell said it will take years for beekeepers to recover. “Irma, we still haven’t recovered totally from (it). We've had floods since then from other storms that came up the coast. It's really just a continued punch that some of us can't support, can't survive through,” he said.

Not only did Ian destroy beehives, but the natural forage in the area is gone, leaving bees without a food source.

“Our goal is to feed about 1.6 billion bees for the next 30 days,” said Brooke Nowak with Greater Good Charities.

Greater Good Charities teamed up with beekeeping supplier Mann Lake to donate 275,000 pounds of syrup and 40,000 pounds of pollen substitute to help farmers keep their bees alive.

“The beehive will go backwards very fast without feed, when there’s nothing for the bees to get in nature. Those are going to cover the two food groups of carbohydrates and proteins that that hive, and that colony will need,” said Andrew Wagner, Mann Lake Operations Manager.

Losing so many bees will have a widespread impact, and it is more important than ever to support our beekeepers.

“They are responsible for pollination for probably about a third of the food that’s on your table at any given time. So, beekeepers are very critical to the food supply chain, and we have to keep them going,” said Rob Wright, CEO of Mann Lake.