Justin Sours rescues a beehive toppled by Hurricane Michael in Wewahitchka, Florida. (AP)

Justin Sours rescues a beehive toppled by Hurricane Michael in Wewahitchka, Florida. (AP)

Beekeepers inspect work on hives after Hurricane Michael in Wewahitchka, Florida. (AP)

Beekeepers inspect work on hives after Hurricane Michael in Wewahitchka, Florida. (AP)

Bees gather the pollen of flowers. Bees that gather from tupelo tree blossoms make the finest honey.  (123RF)

Bees gather the pollen of flowers. Bees that gather from tupelo tree blossoms make the finest honey. (123RF)

The tiny community of Wewahitchka is the main source of the sweet delicacy called tupelo honey. (AP)

The tiny community of Wewahitchka is the main source of the sweet delicacy called tupelo honey. (AP)

These bees are at work in a healthy hive. But keepers in storm-ravaged Florida had to keep starving bees alive with sugar water and corn syrup. (AP)

These bees are at work in a healthy hive. But keepers in storm-ravaged Florida had to keep starving bees alive with sugar water and corn syrup. (AP)

Hurricane Honeybees

Posted: December 31, 2018

Beekeepers in Florida gaze at toppled hives and stripped flowers. Hurricane Michael has knocked down people’s homes . . . and bees’ homes too. “Hurry!” they say. “Bring us bee food fast!”

Trucks rush corn syrup and man-made pollen to the beekeepers. Surviving bee colonies need to eat. If they can eat, they can pollinate crops such as watermelons, cantaloupes, and blueberries . . . so people can eat!

Ben Lanier uses smoke to calm down bees near a hive damaged by Hurricane Michael, which also stripped away blossoms bees depend on for food. (AP)

“Just feeding my bees is the biggest concern,” says Gary Adkison, a Florida beekeeper. “There's no nectar.” Mr. Adkinson lost about 50 beehives in the storm. He has 100 left. Each hive holds 30,000 to 40,000 bees.

Bees in Florida make honey from orange blossoms, gallberries, and wildflowers. But they are most famous for making honey from white tupelo gum trees. People say this fruity, flowery honey tastes best—and they pay the most for it. Mr. Adkinson says everyone in his town keeps a jar of precious tupelo honey on the kitchen table. True tupelo honey is bottled straight from the hive. It does not crystalize. It remains a smooth, golden liquid.

A cypress and tupelo gum swamp (AP)

Hurricane Michael hit Florida in October. Its winds blew 155 miles per hour! And the storm may have caused damage people cannot see yet. Tupelo trees grow in swamps in Florida and Georgia. Did Michael destroy some? People don’t know yet. It’s hard to reach the trees except by boat. After the storm, debris stood in the way of water travel. If trees have been damaged, they may take two or three years to start blooming again!

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! ― Psalm 119:103