Why did you adopt? Aligned values
In our new “Why did you adopt?” blog column, we’re chatting with some of the honeybee heroes who adopted a hive with us, to find out what their adoption means to them. We are incredibly grateful to all of our hive sponsors, who make it possible for us to keep doing what we love—and keep saving more bees—every single day.
To celebrate her husband Andre’s birthday and their third wedding anniversary, Kaydee de Villiers planned a “bee” themed weekend getaway, complete with an overnight stay at the Platbos Forest Reserve’s Honey Bee Suite and a personalised honeybee hive at Honeybee Heroes’ Willowdale Farm.
Andre de Villiers has loved bees since he was a little boy. Growing up, he often tried to rescue bees that got stuck inside the house or in his parents’ pool. “I would catch a stuck bee on my hand and dry it out, and when it flew away, I felt like I had achieved something,” Andre says.
Two Capetonians born and bred, Andre and his wife Kaydee live in Vredehoek, where they both work in animation. They’re the proud parents of two cats, and Andre frequently finds himself rescuing bees from them.
So when Kaydee learned about Honeybee Heroes, only a few hours’ drive from their house, it seemed like a perfect getaway for her bee-obsessed husband. She surprised him with a weekend full of bees—including a day on the farm with the Honeybee Heroes team.
“I was completely in the dark as to where we were going,” Andre remembers, “and when we arrived, Chris was standing there with a hive with our name and wedding date on it. It was such a cool surprise.”
They got dressed in full beekeeping suits and the Honeybee Heroes team drove them around the farm, where they visited a few hives and taught Andre and Kaydee about what it means to care for a honeybee colony. Andre was excited to operate the smoker and help out with opening the hives. Chris taught them about the different personalities that hives can have, how queens are created, and how to identify the different roles of honeybees in the colony—and they even spotted a queen bee, which is a special sighting.
“The guys were really gentle with the bees and so willing to teach us things. It really made it feel like it was a labour of love for them,” Kaydee remembers.
For Kaydee, seeing the bees was an amazing experience, but the most exciting part of the visit was learning about Honeybee Heroes’ goals for consumer education around sustainable food consumption. For the last several years, Kaydee has been on a mission to decrease her personal carbon footprint. She has done many hours of research, reevaluating how and where she buys her food, learning how to make home supplies like toothpaste with her own ingredients, and even taking her own containers to the local butcher when picking up fresh meat.
“We changed our entire lifestyles to be as close to zero plastic and zero waste as we can,” she says. “It’s been a challenging but fascinating journey, and it’s been baby steps, but you really start to inspire other people.”
“It started with recycling, and then not wanting to buy anything that was in a package I couldn’t recycle,” Kaydee says of her process. “And from there, you start looking at everything you’re buying, realising, ‘Why am I even buying packaging? I can cut this whole process out.’ Then when you don’t want packaging, you start paying attention to where you buy things, to the product life-cycle as a whole, and to local produce, and it all just led to Honeybee Heroes.”
“Then to meet Chris and hear why he started Honeybee Heroes and how he wants to promote people thinking more about what they eat and making ethical food choices, it really hit a chord with us,” she says. “The whole thing just felt right, like everything was aligned. We share a lot of values with them.”
Andre and Kaydee are hoping to return again soon to Willowdale Farm to check on their hive, but in the meantime, Kaydee got a honeybee tattoo to commemorate the experience. Talk about a souvenir!
Adopting a beehive is a unique gift for any occasion, whether it’s to celebrate an anniversary, honour a late loved one, to contribute to a sustainable future, or to surprise a friend. Whether you’re sponsoring a hive on behalf of a loved one or adopting one for yourself, your hive will keep a bee colony safe for years to come, making it a gift that keeps on giving. Not to mention the 6 bottles of raw fynbos honey that every sponsor receives as thanks from our resident bees!