Houston Non-Profit Races to Save Florida’s Bees after Hurricane Michael

Rescue Bank is sending tanker trucks full of high fructose corn syrup to the Florida Panhandle to replace natural forage destroyed by the storm. The state’s bees play a major role in American agriculture.

Rescue Bank’s first shipment of 52,000 gallons of high fructose corn syrup arrived in the Florida Panhandle on Thursday morning.

Hurricane Michael wiped out the food supply for bee colonies across the Florida Panhandle. Now a Houston non-profit is racing to keep them from starving.

Florida beekeepers send colonies all over the country to help pollinate crops. Florida itself is the nation's largest citrus producer, and the bees are critical to the harvest.

"The high winds of Hurricane Michael, when they came through the Florida Panhandle area, stripped all of the natural bee forage from the plants," said John Kane, development director of Rescue Bank. "They were faced with tens of thousands of colonies starving for lack of any local food." Roughly 50,000 colonies containing more than 1 billion bees are now at risk.

Rescue Bank, a program of, has begun shipping tanker trucks full of donated high-fructose corn syrup to the region. "With the help of our donors, with the help of Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and the Smucker Company, we're keeping a steady stream of trucks rolling into the area," Kane said.

The effort will continue for about a month, until enough plant life grows back to sustain the bees.


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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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