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.
In-Person Bee Vets Classes: Sunday afternoons at MSP 4:00-5:00pm
For the 2022 beekeeping season, we are offering five monthly workshops in our Bee Veterans apiary at MSP airport. The workshops will include:
- time to suit up and enter the apiary
- instruction on basic beekeeping
- tips on seasonal bee management
Each month we will also focus on one of our senses and use mindfulness techniques to deepen our awareness of honey bee biology and our connection to these incredible pollinators.
These workshops are for Veterans with any level of beekeeping experience (including no experience). Bee veils and bee jackets will be provided for participants to wear in the apiary, although participants may choose to wear their own protective equipment. Participants must be over 18 and are required to wear face protection (bee veil or jacket), long pants, and closed-toe shoes in the apiary. The workshops are free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required.
A note about bee stings… Beekeeping gloves will be available and instructors will work with all participants to demonstrate techniques to minimize stings to the beekeeper and disruption to the bees, but we cannot guarantee that participants will not be stung during our classes. Please feel free to contact us ([email protected]) with questions prior to registration or attending class!
Beekeeping for Veterans Online Sessions
We will host an online session on Monday evenings after each apiary workshop. These are open to all Minnesota Veterans, regardless of participation in the in-person workshops.
We will show photos from the Sunday workshops and give seasonal management updates on Bee Vets apiary hives. Each session will have time for participants to ask questions about their own hives, materials in the Heroes to Hives online course, or other bee related topics. Reminders and links to the Monday evening Zoom sessions will be sent via email each month.
Josh Muñoz transitioned out of the Marine Corps in 2014. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelors in Agriculture Communications & Marketing and a Masters in Agriculture Education. He now works as an Agricultural Teacher at Como Park Senior High School. Josh has been working with the Bee Squad since 2018.
Jessica Helgen manages colonies and collects hive data for the Bee Squad Bee Network program. She is the coordinator and primary instructor for the Mentoring Apiary workshops. Jessica has been keeping bees since 2005 and has worked for the Bee Squad since 2010.
Heroes to Hives Online Beekeeping Course
If you are a US Veteran and interested in comprehensive beekeeping instruction through an online self-paced course, then consider registering for Michigan State University’s free Heroes to Hives course. The University of Minnesota Bee Squad is partnering with Heroes to Hives to offer local beekeeping support for Minnesota Veterans.
Please check out the Heroes to Hives site for more information!