Heroes to Hives

Heroes to Hives is a new program at Michigan State University designed help veterans by teaching them beekeeping skills. We use beekeeping to address the financial and personal wellness of veterans through professional training and community development. Veterans work in teams to manage hives, so they leave our program with personal with professional relationships that open opportunities and ensure long-term support along with the skills to successfully manage a small beekeeping operation. Heroes to Hives graduates will have opportunities for small business ownership, employment in commercial beekeeping operations, and ways to diversify their farm incomes. The partnership between veterans and honey bees represents a new mission for our nation’s heroes as they learn to manage our smallest and most important livestock.


Adam Ingrao holding a honey bee frame

Our Heroes to Hives instructional apiary is housed at the beautiful and peaceful Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary, providing our veterans and instructors a quiet natural setting.


Program Objectives

Heroes to Hives supports the financial and personal health of Michigan’s military veteran community through a formal 9-month beekeeping education program. Our program objectives for our students include proficiency in the following areas:

  • Honey bee biology and behaviors

  • Hive handling

  • Diagnosing and treating honey bee pests and pathogens

  • Producing high quality honey

  • Overwintering bees in northern climates

  • MI Beekeeping Laws and Regulations

  • Habitat management for pollinators

  • Small business development




Current and Future Funding

The 2017 Heroes to Hives program has been fully funded by the generous support of the AT&T Foundation and private donations. As the program grows through 2017, additional funding will be pursued through private donations, and collaborative grants with MSU faculty and Michigan based non-profit organizations.