Humans of UK: Ben Morrison and Jasper Peeno bring beekeeping to UK


Jasper Peeno (left) and Ben Morrison pose for a portrait on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Amanda Braman | Staff

Kaleb Littleton

Ben Morrison and Jasper Peeno are buzzing about their new beekeeping club at the University of Kentucky.

Morrison, a forestry major, and Peeno, an environmental sciences and natural resources major, are freshmen trying to bring the hobby to UK. The two have a passion for bees and wanted to start beekeeping once they got to college, but they were disappointed that UK did not have any  opportunities for them.

“We’ve both had a great interest in it but have never had the opportunity, so our first conversation when we got into college was that we should join a beekeeping club, because we thought there would be one here. And then we were like, ‘Oh wait, there isn’t, that sucks,’” Morrison said. “Jasper came to me a couple days later and said we should start the beekeeping club, and now we’re here.

Though their club is not yet official, Morrison and Peeno have begun the work to register it with UK. They are in the process of drafting a constitution and sending it to their prospective advisor, UK entomology professor Ric Bessin. 

“[Bessin] has been beekeeping since he was 12, and now he’s 60,” Morrison said.

Morrison and Peeno plan to keep their bees at the UK Horticulture Research Farm, also known as the South Farm. They plan to have an apiary of three hives by spring 2022.

“[An] apiary is a beehive, but there’s a lot of them,” Morrison said. “It’s like a farm, basically.” 

Morrison said his love of nature led to his fascination with bees.

“I’ve always just been into environmentalism, and bees are just cool [with] the interactions between the hives and everyone having a role,” Morrison said. “It’s kind of like ants, but they’re pollinators and extremely important.” 

Morrison and Peeno aren’t sure what to do with the honey their bees produce.

“We’re not too worried about the honey. Once we get situated, then we’ll worry about the honey and the beeswax and all that,” Peeno said. “For now, we’re just worried about taking care of the bees.”

Morrison and Peeno also said they hope to expand others’ knowledge about beekeeping, as well as their own.

“We kinda just want to have the opportunity to beekeeping and to teach others about pollinators and their importance in nature,” Peeno said.

Both students were surprised by how much interest their prospective club has gotten, with multiple people interested in joining. They hope that the club will grow and thrive well after their college careers end.

“Our biggest expectation would be nine hives, and that would be by our senior years,” Morrison said. “Then we can pass it down to other people and see it continue expanding.”