Bee Veterans

Bee Veterans

The University of Minnesota Bee Veterans program provides free beekeeping education for Minnesota Veterans. Bee Veterans fosters community through hands-on beekeeping training, while promoting the recreational and professional benefits inherent in working with honey bees. 

Bee Veterans was founded in honor of Veteran and beekeeper Michael Roche. His strong belief in the therapeutic benefits of beekeeping for returning Veterans inspires us to provide the materials and training necessary to make beekeeping an integral part of Veterans’ lives.   Read this article about the Lt Col Michael Roche, the inspiration for the Bee Veterans program. The Bee Veterans program is a partnership of the UMN Bee Squad and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Bee Veterans Apiaries are located at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and in Rochester, MN.

Typically, we provide Veterans with hands-on beekeeping training. This year, we will talk about bees and pollinators online. The best way to learn about beekeeping is to experience it yourself, so this year we will focus less on practical beekeeping skills and instead dive into some of the reasons bees are so fascinating. We will cover topics like bee biology, planting flowers for all bees, and how a colony defends itself against pathogens. The classes are for Veterans with any level of beekeeping experience, including no experience. 

 Program Requirements:

  • You are a Minnesota Veteran or service member

  • You are curious about bees and beekeeping

Register online

Hosted by the Bee Squad’s Jessica Helgen, our final 2020 season class is scheduled for Sunday, September 13 from 4:00-5:00pm (CST). This class will feature a conversation with Adam Ingrao, PhD, U.S. Army Veteran, and founder and instructor of the Michigan State University Extension program Heroes to Hives. There will be an open Q&A at the end of class.

Session description: After suffering a career-ending injury in 2004, while serving active duty in the US Army, Adam Ingrao found himself a disabled vet at 25. In the subsequent years, Ingrao struggled with opioids (prescribed by the VA), depression, and the guilt associated with leaving his military family in a time of war. This all changed when he found beekeeping. In this session, we will discuss Adam’s story, and the stories of others, who have transitioned from the military and have used beekeeping as a modality to support personal and financial wellness.  We will explore how these experiences led to the formation of the Heroes to Hives program at Michigan State University.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Adam Ingrao is an Extension Specialist and the Veteran’s Liaison for Michigan State University Extension (MSUE). He holds a BS in Agriculture and Environmental Plant Science from California Polytechnic State University and a PhD in Entomology from Michigan State University. Ingrao is a nationally recognized farmer veteran advocate and works at local, state, and federal levels advocating for programs and funding to support veterans working in agriculture. He is the founder and lead instructor for MSUE’s Heroes to Hives program and owns and operates Bee Wise Farms LLC, a diversified farm and honey bee operation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


National Beekeeping for Veterans

The University of Minnesota Bee Squad and Extension has initiated a nation-wide effort for groups and individuals interested in supporting Veterans in beekeeping. Please sign up HERE if you want to be included in this collaboration. We will share updates and opportunities with you.

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Support Bee Veterans

(Please note Bee Veterans in Special Instructions)

Bee Veterans