Honey, honey how you thrill me

Maxine Roeloffze next to one of her hives.

Hout Bay honey enthusiasts are in for a sweet surprise. Soon locally produced, pure organic fynbos honey will be available in the Valley thanks to the initiative of 16-year-old Maxine Roeloffze.

Maxine’s parents, Peter and Cathy are the owners of the Hout Bay Vineyards and have had four hives on their property on the slopes of Skoorsteenkop for a while.

And although honey was harvested from the hives a few times, the family’s interest in making honey was never sparked, until now.

Maxine has decided to call the product Pollenation. She will be responsible for harvesting, packaging and labelling the product herself.

“I’m still busy working on the labelling. I have an idea of what it should look like but I am a perfectionist so I’m still busy perfecting it,” she said, laughing.

The idea came to her while en route to Knysna for a family vacation.

“My dad and I were brainstorming in the car about what I can do to earn an extra pocket money and he said we have the hives, why don’t we do something with them,” she said.

And in the past two months, Maxine has developed a massive passion for the bee world.

She says bees are some of the hardest working animals on the planet and she feels at the mercy of them when they are working tirelessly to make honey.

“It is an extremely humbling experience.

“When I go to the hives I send my bees love and it feels like the bees are making the honey especially for me,” she said.

At present, Maxine has nine hives and each hive hosts about 30 000 bees.

And although she is considering a career in the medical field such physiotherapy or or pediatrics, she aims to increase her hives to 4 000 by 2025 and to expand her business to the greater Cape Town.

She explains that there are a few different components to a beehive, a base, the brood box, the queen excluder, the supers, the frames, the top lid and a roof cover. The bottom board provides ventilation for the hive, but can also be used for pest management while the super holds the frames that the bees build the wax onto and in which the honey is collected. Each super holds nine frames but can vary according to hive size.

The queen excluder is a flat rack with holes that are large enough for the worker bees to get through but not the drones or the queen. The purpose of the queen excluder is to prevent the queen from laying her eggs in the super.

The cover is placed on top of the hive to close it off, making it a secure and sealed environment for the bees.

According to buzzaboutbees. net, honey bees will collect nectar from flowers within an eight kilometre radius of their hive. The bees will mix the nectar with an enzyme in their mouths and drop it into the honeycomb, which are hexagonal shaped cells made by the bees from wax.

The nectar is then kept in the honeycomb to become thicker and once this has happened, the bees will cap the honeycomb with a layer of wax which needs to be removed when the honey is harvested.

Honeybees also assist with pollination by transferring pollen grains from one flower to another while collecting nectar.

Maxine says she hopes to launch her product during the Hout Bay Vineyards’ open day at the end of November.