Heroes to Hives teaches veterans beekeeping skills

education farming journey hive checks hive management honey bees

By Michael Sobeck

NEWBERRY, Mich. (WLUC) - Heroes to Hives hosted an on-ground session Saturday at Beewise Farms to demonstrate the winterization of their hives along with other maintenance skills.

Founded in Newberry, Heros to Hives works with schools across the U.S. to provide veterans a goal after service. Heroes to Hives Founder Andy Ingrao said beekeeping allowed him to continue to serve after the military.

“When I found beekeeping it was the first time in my life that I felt like there was a mission that I could get behind just like I was in the military. I was in the military I was serving to support our national security, now as a beekeeper, I am supporting our food security,” said Ingrao.

Ingrao said Honeybees are a major pollinator and help improve crop growth during growing seasons. Beekeeper Gerry Blanchard said he finds relaxation from supporting his hives.

“I’ve never found a place where you can sit among thousands of things and really enjoy it. I’ve been out camping and had a thousand mosquitos and you got netting, but there, you sit there and watch what’s going on and if you are not relaxed it makes you relaxed,” said Blanchard.

Air Force Veteran and Heroes to Hives Beekeeper Dave Rife said beekeeping continues to help him transition to civilian life.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Rife. “In my life, I don’t have the backup I had in the service, it’s just not there. When I got involved with Heros to Hives I found veterans that felt the same. There is no expectation that you are even going to participate, if you are just there for the comradery or to be around other veterans that’s perfectly fine.”

Ingrao, also said there are classes online and in person for anyone interested in learning the skills of beekeeping.

Watch the video here

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