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Honey harvesting: A first in the Maldives

Honey bee

The original Dhivehi article was published on Mihaaru.com website on 31st August 2017.

The following is a loose translation:

It failed 17 years ago. However, undeterred the 3 siblings of a Maldivian family continued their efforts to harvest honey. After attempting 4 times, finally, they were fruitfully rewarded. Maldives’ freshest honey are packed in their household now. The honey tastes extraordinarily delicious. Because it is honey in its purest form, without any additives.

Their story’s beginning and the ending is as sweet as their honey.

The beehive

This family’s honey harvesting is very small scale, with the recent harvest producing just 8 bottles of honey in varied sizes. 17 years ago, the first honeycomb they brought to harvest honey, got destroyed as proper attention was not given. This got repeated with the second honeycomb too. However, the family pursued. Therefore, it is fair to say that this is the first time honey harvesting took place in the Maldives.

Essentially, honey is made by bees. After the honey bees collect the nectar from flowers they go and store their honey in beeswax honeycomb (framed beehives). Filling up the entire honeycomb with goodness of honey.

Mohamed Ilham who spoke on behalf of the family said that the honey bees after collecting the nectar comes to their specially made beehives in their household. The beehives are kept safe from any creatures reach.

beehive

‘We got this amount of honey after 2 years of work.’ The honeycomb frames are fit inside beehives. We have now made 8 frames which are stored inside a box beehive. We estimate it to take 2 years to collect this amount of honey.’

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He said that if the honeycombs were looked after properly we could have seen the harvest sooner than this.This period’s honey produce which had been distributed to the whole family, also tastes different.

‘The store-bought honey is different to our natural honey. The mass produced honey are not organic. However, ours is made up of pure honey, free from additives. People who tasted it also agrees that it is delicious.’ said Ilham.

Ilham said, even though, the honey bees come and store their honey in the honeycombs, there is still work left to do. In order to keep the lizards and ants at bay, the area near the beehive needs to be cleaned up thoroughly and looked after.

bees

‘When the bees are doing their bit, there is no need to be near them. There is no further work to do, except protecting the beehive from lizards and ants.’ he said.

There is a big market for honey in the Maldives. However, it is rare to find fresh honey. A lot of work needs to be done in order to bring the honey made in the Maldives in to the market. It also requires a big space. The honey making family of the Maldives is also faced with this problem. This is not entirely practicable on an island where the land is scarce, like Malé city.

Still, one thing is certain, we can also make honey!

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