Your donation will be used to cover the honeybee related losses we have experienced as a result of Hurricane Florence. We will use any relief funds we receive (from all sources) in excess of our losses to help similarly affected beekeepers. Bees are important for honey production, crop pollination, and their role in the natural ecosystem. Please help us rebuild from Hurricane Florence and move forward with our honeybee business. Your gift will help us, the honeybees and our community. Please also share this campaign with others. Thank you.
Who We Are
My name is Barry Harris. My wife Jill and I operate Silver Spoon Apiaries, a honeybee business headquartered in Wilmington NC. We maintain beeyards (bee farms) in a three county area of coastal North Carolina. Jill and I believe that our beekeeping efforts have a positive impact on our community. We are the principal supplier of local honey to grocery stores, restaurants, and food co-ops in our area. We have helped hundreds of new beekeepers get started on their beekeeping journey through the educational programs we have volunteered our time to teach. We frequently speak to schools and civic clubs about the importance of bees and to beekeepers about how to take better care of their bees. The motto of our business is "We love our bees so you will love our honey."
We have suffered substantial uninsured losses due to Hurricane Florence. Specific losses include:
Colony and hive losses in excess of $25,000.
Additional supplemental feed costs in excess of $5,000. Most of the fall forage surrounding many of our beeyards was wiped out by wind and flooding. This will necessitate substantially more supplemental feeding than normal with an associated increase in supplemental feed cost.
Bee farm infrastructure repair in excess of $5,000. We had significant storm damage to some of our beeyards including large downed trees, damaged roads, and damaged bear fences. The volume of the cleanup is such that we have to hire people to help. At some of the beeyards boom trucks, bobcats with grabbers, and dump trucks are necessary.
We are still working through our colonies and rebuilding our bee farm infrastructure. Our losses could total in excess of $50,000.
The USDA/FSA does have a program that may possibly offset some of our losses. We are applying for help from this program. However, there are a lot of hoops to jump through to qualify and, even in a best case scenario, the benefits are limited and would only cover a small portion of our losses. Additionally, any USDA funds we do qualify for will not be paid for six to eighteen months. Our need is immediate. We will use any relief funds we receive (from all sources) in excess of our losses to help similarly affected beekeepers.
Silver Spoon Apiaries became a full-time endeavor in 2009. Over the last ten years we have put all of our savings, disposable income, and borrowing capacity into increasing our colony numbers and establishing Silver Spoon as a sustainable beekeeping operation. This year was a poor honey production year for beekeepers in our area due to the weather. Additionally, we lost a significant amount of honey production as a direct result of the hurricane. We do NOT have the liquid resources or available borrowing capacity to meet this need from our own resources. We need your help.
Lost beeyard during happier times in April of 2018 just prior to beginning of honey flow .
Same beeyard post Hurricane Florence. The rectangular objects in the picture are concrete blocks we place on top of the hives to protect them from wind and racoons. The hives actually made it through the hurricane standing up and "high and dry". Torrential post-hurricane rain and flooding is what actually took them out. Notice that the lower 7-1/2 to 9 feet of the trees in the background of the picture are brown. This is the level of the flood water. The hives floated away leaving the concrete blocks.
All of the bees at this beeyard were drowned in the flood. As the water receded some of the equipment was pulled back through Merritt's Creek and into the Cape Fear River never to be seen again. Some of the equipment got hung up in trees and bushes as it floated away. We searched a 100 acre area and were able to find some of the equipment that got hung up like this but virtually all of it looked like the picture above. Water logged, full of dead bees and rotting bee brood (unborn bees), and covered with mold.
The picture above is of one of our beeyards in Wilmington, NC. There are 48 colonies in this yard. You can see the beginning of the back row of the hives in this picture. There are 18 hives in the remainder of that row and 24 hives in the front row that you can't see because of all of the trees on top of them. We had to remove a huge pine tree just to be able to take this picture from this angle. We lost approximately 25% of the colonies in this yard due to the hurricane. The effort and expense involved in removing 6 trees over 100 feet tall is significant.
Tree down on bear fence at one of our beeyards in Pender County, NC.
This is a fence corner post. Prior to the storm this fence line was completely clear. All of the foliage that you see along the fence line is blown-down treetops. All this will have to be cleared and the fence rewired. This is just one beeyard. When you multiply this by many beeyards it adds up to a lot of man-hours.
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