Hives for Heroes is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting veterans interested in beekeeping together. Their mission as an organization is to focus on honey bee conservation, suicide prevention, and a healthy transition from service. Hives for Heroes consists of a national network of beekeepers and veterans providing connection, purpose, and healthy relationships fostering a lifelong hobby in beekeeping. “Together we can Save Bees and Save Vets!”
Hives for Heroes was founded in 2018 by a small group of veterans in Houston. The main founder, a Marine Corps Veteran with PTSD, fell in love with the rush of opening a hive. Beekeeping provided purpose and a healthy outlet. The team started doing bee removals from structures to fund the program. In 2020, Hives for Heroes was marketed on a national level and quickly gained traction on social media. The success and growth of Hives for Heroes are attributed to the support of the beekeeping and veteran communities. Hives for Heroes is a collaborative effort and one nationwide team saving bees and saving vets!
The core of the Hives for Heroes program is one “newbee”, one mentor, one hive. Their team matches veterans and mentors based on proximity, and local beekeeping associations are involved. Interested veterans and mentors apply online on their website. Their team then matches veterans and mentors based on proximity. They also reach out to the county and local beekeeping associations to connect the “newbee” veteran. This increases community engagement and creates relationships in the local area. Hives for Heroes’ original goal was to be in 3 states in 3 years. Now with an outpouring of support, they are in all 50 states and forming a charter in Australia.
Hives for Heroes is addressing the declining rates of the honey bee population and the high suicide rate in the veteran community (currently 22 a day). Through beekeeping, they are providing veterans with purpose, connection, and healthy outlets to reduce the suicide rate. By training and mentoring veterans, they are empowering them to bee keep which aids in the conservation of bees. Texas is home to many acres of citrus and farmland, providing excellent locations for cultivating bees, an important pollinator. Due to ideal conditions, Texas is also the 6th largest honey-producing state.
Hives for Heroes is a Texan-led, military veteran non-profit focused on the conservation of honey bees and veterans. There is a direct impact to people and local communities and natural resources. Beekeeping is unique, allowing a beekeeper to suit up, overcome fear, accomplish a goal through process-oriented techniques, and walk away with a sense of accomplishment. This practice can easily translate to their personal and professional lives when dealing with PTS and other traumas from service.
Texas Impact: Over 2,000 hives are spread across Texas among 70 beekeeping mentors that train 180 veteran “newbees.” Primarily located around Houston, DFW, Austin, and San Antonio, these mentor and mentee groups care for approximately 120M bees across 57 cities and towns, creating immense positive ecological impact for the areas these bees pollinate.