Veterans are finding relief for anxiety, depression, and PTSD-related symptoms in an unlikely place: Beehives.
In 2014, Army Vet Eric Grandon joined West Virginia’s Veterans and Heroes in Agriculture Program. After a few years, he began keeping beehives of his own. Today Grandon has over 100 hives with over 5 million (yes, you read that right!) bees.
There are a few intrinsic similarities between working with the hives and military experience. Beekeeping is regimented and methodical, and the bees themselves work in harmony, as a team, towards a single goal. Those who have become involved in beekeeping often find they are experiencing an improvement in social connections as well as a decrease in PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms.
Grandon has found beekeeping therapy to be so valuable that he now trains other veterans how to care for hives as well. And he’s not the only one sharing the practice with military vets. Several VA chapters across the country have comparable programs and many non-profits are establishing beekeeping grants for veterans, too.
For instance, Heroes to Hives offers a veteran-specific program which begins with a free online training course available to any veterans, active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard and dependents of those persons. The in-person instruction takes place at designated sites in Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Want to try your hand at beekeeping? Check out some of these programs designed specifically for servicemembers and their families.
- Heroes to Hives
- University of Minnesota Bee Veterans program
- Hives for Heroes | Nonprofit Veteran Beekeeping
- Farmers Veterans Coalition
- Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture