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.

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.

Each session will be different, so we encourage participants to sign up for all five workshops, or for as many as their schedules allow.

Class descriptions and dates

Sight: Watch foraging honey bees travel in and out of the hives, identify nectar and pollen in the frames. Get your first look at the inner workings of a honey bee hive!
Sunday, May 15 from 4:00-5:00pm

Sound: Listen to the bees as we perform a hive inspection. What can different sounds tell us about the health of the hive?
Sunday, June 12 from 4:00-5:00pm

Smell: Learn how bees use pheromones to communicate. Can paying attention to smells help beekeepers better understand their bees?
Sunday, July 17 from 4:00-5:00pm

Taste: Time to remove supers and harvest honey! Can you taste the difference between types of nectar?
Sunday, August 14 from 4:00-5:00pm

Touch: As honey bees prepare for winter, they seal up cracks in the hive with propolis (tree resin). How does this affect our experience in the hive?
Sunday, September 18 from 4:00-5:00pm

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 (ma-bees@umn.edu) 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.

  • Monday, May 16 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Monday, June 13 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Monday, July 18 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Monday, August 15 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Monday, September 19 from 7:00-8:00pm


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.

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.

Contact information

Program contact:
Jessica Helgen

Registration help:

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