Sweet Opportunity for Veterans: Beekeeping for fun and possible profit.

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:59 PM CST
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WRENSHALL, MN (KBJR) -- When Christian Dahm is tending to his bees on a farm near Wrenshall, he looks like a lifelong beekeeper, but this is his second career.

“I went into the Marine Corps when I was 19 and I did 7 years,” said Christian Dahm, a Bee Veterans participant.

Dahm is one of 100 veterans who’ve taken part in the program.

“There was an email invite put out, if you’re a veteran to apply for a free spot to this class,” said Dahm.

The program teaches vets how to raise and keep honeybees.

According to organizers, something about the bee’s behavior can have a calming effect on people, especially veterans.

“They help kind of bring down the crazy in the world. They help you, they’re very grounding when you work with them,” said Katie Lee, University of Minnesota Apiculture Extension Educator.

Working with bees can require a singular focus.

“It’s just when you’re in a colony of bees, that’s the only thing you can think about. Your mind’s not going a million miles an hour, you’re not thinking about bad things or good things. It’s just you’re in the bees,” said Dahm.

Losing focus while working with bees can have immediate consequences.

“It makes you be present and aware of what you’re doing because if you get distracted, you end up probably getting stung,” said Lee.

And though beekeeping can be isolating, members of the Bee Veterans program join a hive of people who speak the same language.

“There is a couple of veterans around here that do reach out..and we talk..we don’t ever talk about service, we just talk about beekeeping, but that’s fine.”

Helping our nation’s heroes build a sweet new future.

Christian Dahm has more than 80 bee colonies in two locations in the Northland and is planning on becoming a full-time beekeeper.

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