Laidley’s Mariki and Francois Visser are passionate Native Bee Keepers
They first developed an interest in Australian Native Stingless Bees in bushland at their home where they noticed the unique relationship that bees have with the native plants and how they relied on one another to prosper.
Having been organic farmers in South Africa, they became intrigued as they discovered that Australian Native Bees produce a unique ‘propolis’, which has more than double the medicinal value of honey bee propolis.
In just three years, they’ve established a boutique hobby business, keeping 400 hives and selling their Native Bee propolis worldwide. OBT Financial Group is helping Mariki and Francois Visser make the transition from bee-ing employees to business owners.
“We’ve always loved honey and started learning about Australian Native Bees, initially through native bee expert Dr Tim Heard,” says Mariki who talks passionately about Australian Native Bees and their new business, Native Beeings.
After they bought a few hives, Francois soon analysed and recorded the differences.
“Francois loves research and found out as much as he could, including going to Malaysia, Brazil and India, and identified that the propolis from Native Bees has much higher medicinal properties than the propolis produced by European honey bees.”
For the uninitiated, Mariki explained that ‘propolis’ is one of nature’s most powerful compounds – a unique combination of plant bio-actives and bee ingenuity. It is made from plant resins and bee wax, and used by bees to protect and sterilise the hive, where it acts as the immune defence mechanism for the whole hive. As such, propolis has high medicinal value with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties which also supports immunity.
A unique Australian application of Native Bee propolis is the moulded mouthpiece of a didgeridoo.
“Propolis is a beautiful word derived from Greek, meaning ‘guarding the city’,” says Mariki. “It not only guards beehives against intruders, but it is a traditional health product that acts as a natural medicine so it can also fend off and treat all kinds of health issues.”
Mariki and Francois designed a method to collect the propolis with a unique structure so they don’t intrude on the hive and also developed a way to do a natural extract. Their Native Beeings Propolis is a pure and traceable product made with 100% organic ingredients.
“Our Native Beeings Propolis Extract is a 100% natural and multi-purpose remedy, excellent for immune support, oral health, skin conditions like eczema or acne, mouth ulcers or cold sores and has a pleasant herbal resin taste so children like it as well. I always have it in my handbag ”says Mariki.
OBT Financial Group has been helping the Vissers make the transition from hobbyists to business owners.
“OBT looks after our accounting, BAS submissions and helps in general around our business structuring,” says Mariki.
“Brett is a fantastic person to talk to about what to do with our business and the tax, taking into account our day jobs. He’s such an engaged, honest and enthusiastic person who is lovely and very relaxed to deal with.”
“Annette takes care of anything we don’t want to do and submits everything on time. Brett gives us the motivation to develop our seemingly wild ideas and explore how we can turn them into reality.”
Native Beeings’ Propolis Extract is TGA registered and their products are distributed from a registered manufacturing and packaging facility on the Gold Coast, however most of their beehives are situated in natural bushland or rainforests in and around Moreton Bay’s Redlands region.
“Native bees need to have the best vegetation available with no pesticides and access to a variety of resins which makes their propolis so potent, as the bees forage from many different trees. Plus the bay climate is better for the bees.”
“The immune support industry has really taken off, especially internationally, so people from all around the world order from our website or find us on Instagram.”
The Vissers were even featured in a South Korean documentary because of the work they were doing with bee propolis.
“We love it! It’s often that we will be working all day and then our weekends can be spent out in the bush. Coochiemudlo’s Island residents are so lovely and tell us how much more fruit they have thanks to the pollination from our native bees.”
“We truly value the bees as beings of nature, doing their incredible work, never sleeping, yet only living for 50 days and doing many different jobs in their lifetime,” Mariki added. “We are fully committed to maximising bee vitality and population growth so all our hive management practices have been developed with the wellbeing of the bees in mind.”