A Denison teen was recently named the winner of the Young Beekeeper Award. This national award presented by Bayer Bee Care Program annually recognizes students who demonstrate a passion for supporting and promoting honey bee and pollinator health in schools and communities.
Jonathan Murphy, 17, of Denison, placed third out of 50 applicants for the award which came with a $1,000 scholarship which Jonathan hopes to use to help spread awareness about the importance of beekeeping.
He helps run Fawn Hollow Honey with his father in Denison. He also helped start the Grayson County Beekeepers’ Club.
“My dad has been interested in bee keeping since he was a kid,” Jonathan said. “I was 12, though, when we went to a Denison Farmers Market and tasted some local honey. I was really interested then.”
Jonathan and his father learned that Collin County had a bee club so they joined. That was in 2013.
That same year, Jonathan received the Collin County Hobbyist Beekeeper’s Association scholarship.
“I received my first hive through the group and my dad was admitted into a bigger class within the club and received three hives,” Jonathan said. “So really we started out with four hives.”
Later, Jonathan, his father, and Charles Adams saw the opportunity to share their love of bees with others. The group created a Grayson County Beekeepers’ Club. Jonathan hopes to soon start giving scholarships through the club.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that I was the third place winner of the Young Beekeeper Award,” Jonathan said. “I have been working really hard on my AP tests and trying to get scholarships for college. I was really focused on that this semester so I was really happy when I learned about winning this award.”
Jonathan said he is always learning a lot of interesting things about bees over the years.
“One of the things I learned that I thought was really interesting is that the honeycomb is angled up at the same degree so the honey does not spill out,” he said. “I think it is 9 degrees.”
Also, Jonathan said that the honey bee’s hexagon is the most efficient use of wax and space.
“It keeps the queen at the same temperature year round,” he said. “No matter if it is freezing outside or if it is hot outside, the bees work to make sure that the queen remains at the same temperature. They help circulate the air.”
Working with the bees, Jonathan said, has helped improve his allergies.
“I do not know how many studies have been done on this, but my dad and I have bad allergies,” Jonathan said. “Honey bees take pollen from plants in the area. So they use pollen from this area to make their honey. It helps consumers of the honey to become more tolerant to allergens in this area.”
Jonathan said that local honey tastes better than the different honey brands he has purchased from stores.
“Bees mean a lot to the world,” he said. “They pollinate a lot of the fruits and vegetables in this area. It is so important because if we lose our honey bees, we may be lose a lot of the food sources we have in this area.”
Jonathan Murphy is not the only beekeeper in Texas that received this award.
“Texas is a breeding ground for young beekeepers,” Bayer Bee Care representative Lee Redding said.
For those interested in joining the club started by Jonathan, visit the Facebook page Grayson County Beekeepers’ Club.