The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Take Bee Pollen to Build Your Immunity

Written by Stephanie on July 15th, 2017.      0 comments

Do you often succumb to the winter bugs?  Does your immunity need a little boost?  Try bee pollen!  It is naturally rich in protein and contains virtually every known vitamin, 28 minerals, plus numerous active enzymes and fatty acids.  It is one of nature’s best superfoods, providing a sustainable source of energy for a healthy balanced life. 

Pollen-heartRegular consumption of bee pollen aids your general health and well-being. Just some of the reported benefits of Sweetree bee pollen are sustained energy, enhanced immunity, reduced stress, relief of inflammation, more rested sleep and better skin condition.

Studies show that the white blood cell count is increased in those taking bee pollen. Gamma globulins are the “stuff” antibodies are made of, and antibodies are our only internal defense against viruses. White blood cells of various types consume harmful bacteria and other foreign matter that enters the blood or lymph stream. In short, pollen appears to boost our immune system protection.


Read more about Sweetree Bee Pollen
See what our customers think of Sweetree Bee Pollen

Topics: Products

Plastic Free July: Tip #4 - Reduce Packaging

Written by Stephanie on July 11th, 2017.      0 comments

Monthly-PlasticThe photo to the right is a display at the Waikato Museum that shows how much packaging the average New Zealand family sends to the landfill every month.  Startling isn't it! Do you think your family uses this much packaging monthly?  

You can just imagine what this is doing to the environment with everyone adding their bit to the landfill each month.  If we all did a little something to reduce the amount of packaging we use it will all help! 

Tips for Reducing Packaging in Our Homes:

  • Grow your own veges and fruit
  • Buy fresh, loose food rather than food in packaging, you can make or buy little cloth bags to put the loose fruit or veges into
  • Say no to the plastic bags that shops give to carry your goods, see Limit Plastic Bag Use, take your own cloth bags instead.
  • Choose items in glass, paper, cardboard, etc as opposed to plastic
  • Buy nuts, dried fruit, flour, legumes, coffee, rice, oats, etc from bulk bins (check out your local Bin Inn Store)
  • Consider buying commonly used items like flour and rice in bulk and share with friends (bags are usually paper)
  • Avoid over packaged products, go for products with the least plastic packaging
  • Go for reusable options where you can, eg refilling containers, refillable toner cartridges, etc
  • Purchase from a Farmers Market and take your own cloth bags
  • Store food in the fridge in a non plastic container or cover or wrap them in HoneyWraps
  • Use reusable lunch boxes and wrap in HoneyWraps rather than plastic food wrap for lunches and snacks
  • Use newspaper to line your rubbish bin instead of a plastic bag - check out this website for more details
  • Instead of using plastic bags when walking the dog use newspaper to wrap up their business
  • Use paper rubbish sacks
  • Use glass or stainless steel drink bottles and coffee mugs
  • Don't use plastic straws
  • Make the most of bamboo and other natural fibre products!  You can purchase toothbrushes, dish brushes, etc from EcoWarehouse
  • When you have a crowd over and don't have enough for them to eat off make sure you use paper or biodegradable plates and bamboo cutlery.

See other blogs on this topic:
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free

Plastic Free July: Tip #3 - Plastic Free Shopping

Written by Stephanie on July 9th, 2017.      0 comments

Here's some tips for limiting plastic when you are shopping this Plastic Free July.
  • Say no to the plastic bags that shops give to carry your goods, see Limit Plastic Bag Use
  • Take your own containers for deli and butcher items, you will have to brave to do this
  • Buy loose fruit and veges and not the ones prepackaged
  • Use your own cloth produce bags for fruit and veges, I've made some little drawer string bags for this
  • Choose items in glass, paper, cardboard, etc as opposed to plastic
  • Buy nuts, dried fruit, flour, legumes, coffee, rice, oats, etc from bulk bins (check out your local Bin Inn Store)
  • Consider buying commonly used items like flour and rice in bulk and share with friends (bags are usually paper)
  • Avoid over packaged products, go for products with the least plastic packaging
  • Go for reusable options where you can, eg refilling containers, refillable toner cartridges, etc
  • Purchase from a Farmers Market and take your own bags
  • Grow your own veges and fruit
Plastic Wrapped veges and fruit-607           vege bags-599

See other blogs on this topic:
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free

Sustainable Me Challenge - July

Written by Stephanie on July 7th, 2017.      0 comments

This month's 'Sustainable Me' challenge is to participate in 'Plastic-free July' by cutting back on overall plastic use. We have more information on Plastic Free July on another blog post and 'Our Seas our Future (OSOF)' have lots of information on their website.

Did you know that every piece of plastic ever made is still around? It might look a bit different than it did in its original form – discoloured, warped, or in smaller pieces perhaps.  Plastic is found nearly everywhere in our lives, too. Our food comes wrapped in it, our clothing is spun from it and our hospitals use it to save lives. Plastic is found in our wallets, our toys, our cars and our electronics.

It can be overwhelming to think about all that plastic, and to see a path forward to a reduced-plastic life, much less a plastic-free one. Removing all plastic from your life is extremely difficult –prohibitively so for most of us. But every tiny step in the right direction helps, and this month you are encouraged to take one.

Focus on ‘reduce’ and ‘reuse’ rather than recycle – buying and using less plastic means less of it enters the waste stream. Simply find ways to use less and dispose of less. plastic free july choose to refuse-647

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: Start with something simple – pledge to go plastic free for a day or a week. Choose a new behaviour and practice it. It’s that simple.

Step it up: Remove all single-use plastics from your life for one full month.

Want more? Can you go one full month without adding any plastic to the waste stream – single use or otherwise? Challenge yourself to give it a try! Even if it doesn’t work, you will probably learn something along the way that you can incorporate into your regular plastic-reduction routine.

See the OSOF website to read more tips

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Topics: , Enviromental

Plastic Free July: Tip #2 - Plastic Free Meals on the Go

Written by Stephanie on July 5th, 2017.      0 comments

Here's some tips for limiting plastic when you are eating and drinking on the go this Plastic Free July.


When Eating Out:

  • Take your own containers when ordering takeaways from somewhere that uses plastic (eg Indian), even find a takeaway joint that used eco friendly packaging
  • Take your own container/s to restaurants for any leftovers
  • Carry reusable utensils such as bamboo or your own stainless steel cutlery from home.

Drinking on the Go:stainless-steel-coffee-mug

  • Carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle with you at all times
  • If  you forget your travel mug when ordering a coffee ask for 'no lid'
  • Say no to a straw when ordering cold drinks.

Snacking on the Go:

  • When ordering icecream choose a cone over a tub
  • Look for a local sausage sizzle
  • Buy from bakeries, cafes, etc that use paper as opposed to plastic bags
  • Take snacks in a non plastic container or wrap them in honey wraps.


See other blogs on this topic:
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free

Congratulations to our 'Bee Sweet and Reuse' Winner!

Written by Stephanie on July 4th, 2017.      0 comments

Congratulations to Melanie Goodrick for winning our 'Bee Sweet and Reuse' photo competition!! This competition's aim was to promote the reuse of our glass jars.  Melanie had a great functional and creative use for her reused jar and has won $140 worth of goodies!! 

photo comp-64-748-297

Plastic Free July: Tip #1 - Limit Plastic Bag Use

Written by Stephanie on July 3rd, 2017.      0 comments

As mentioned in my last blog post this month is Plastic Free July.  We're going to give you some tips on how to be plastic free.  These tips on our how to avoid plastic bag use.

How to Limit Plastic Bag Use

  • Store cloth bags in your car and/or handbag so you always have them when you out shopping.  Don't accept plastic bags from stores, instead use your cloth bags
  • Use your own small cloth bags or paper bags in the fruit and vege area of the supermarket
  • Grocery BagUse cardboard boxes from the supermarket to carry your shopping
  • Buy fresh bread in paper bags
  • Ask the butcher to wrap meats directly into paper
  • Buy items from the bulk bins using paper bags
  • Ask your local grocery store and/or market to stock paper / cloth bags
  • Use newspaper to line your rubbish bin instead of a plastic bag - check out this website for more details
  • Instead of using plastic bags when walking the dog use newspaper to wrap up their business.

See other blogs on this topic:
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free

Plastic Free July!

Written by Stephanie on June 30th, 2017.      0 comments

Plastic bottles, bags and takeaway containers that we use just for a few minutes use a material that is designed to last forever.  They break up rather than break down (becoming permanent pollution), they are mostly down cycled (made into low grade products for just one more use) or sent to the landfill and escape from bins and trucks to end up in our waterways and the ocean.  Alarmingly scientists predict that there will be more tonnes of plastic in the ocean than tonnes of fish by 2050!  Imagine the impact on our food chain!  Every bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century the world economy produced more plastic than in the entire 1900's!!


What is Plastic Free July?

This month is 'Plastic Free July'  It is a simple idea developed in Australia in 2011, which aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the the use of single-use plastic during July each year.  What a fantastic way of reducing plastic in landfills!  We love it!!

They have created a challenge that you can sign up for.  Schools, cafes, government agencies and community groups across the world have joined thousands of individuals saying no to single-use plastic.

Of course you don't have to sign up, but just take the challenge yourself.  The challenge is quite simple - attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July.  'Single-use' includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging...basically anything that's intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles & coffee cup lids).

Avoid These:

plastic-free-july-line-single-use-products orig-555

Instead Use These:

plastic-free-july-reusables-banner orig-463

What are We Doing for Plastic Free July?

Sweetree we will be taking the challenge!  We've been trying to eliminate plastic for the last few years.  At home we store food in glass jars and containers, using the old biscuits tins for baking, using stainless steel drink bottles, reusable coffee cups, saying no to plastic bags at shops (taking my own cloth bags to the shops), use paper rubbish sacks and use Honeywraps instead of plastic food wrap. 

All our honey is stored in glass jars, our propolis in glass bottles, we use paper bags instead of plastic at the markets and we are going back to investigating alternative pouches for our bee pollen.  But we can always do better!   This month, and ongoing, we will really be careful about the products that we buy and eliminate plastic packaging, especially single-use plastic, as much as possible.  

Why not join thousands taking the challenge to refuse single-use plastic?  Any time is better than none - a day or a week, the whole month or longer!  If you want to you can sign up to get recipes, ideas & everything you need to take part.  We will be posting more blogs with ideas of how you can reduce plastic throughout the month also.

Look out for my weekly blog this month on how to reduce plastic use this 'Plastic Free July'.  Like us on Facebook to keep up to date!
Topics: , Plastic Free

NZ Garden Bird Survey

Written by Stephanie on June 26th, 2017.      0 comments

Garden SurveyNow this is a great event to be part of!  It's the yearly 'Garden Bird Survey'.  By surveying birds in our gardens, parks or school grounds, we can help Landcare Research, NatureWatch, TopFlite, Birds NZ and Forest & Bird, together, learn more about NZ's common and widespread birds as well as inform future conservation efforts.

The survey runs from now until Sunday 2nd July.  Just choose a day that suits you, grab a comfy seat and binoculars and look and listen in your garden for one hour.  For each species record the highest number seen at any one time (not the total seen over the hour).  

You can find out more details on their website and record your data on the online form.  There are identification and tally sheets as well. 

In our home garden in Horsham Downs, Hamilton we recorded:
4 x fantail
5 x greenfinch
2 x myna
1 x song thrush
2 x starling
2 x tui
12 x welcome swallows
1 x Kaka - we couldn't believe it when we saw it in our tree!
Topics: , Enviromental

Can You Take NZ Honey into Australia?

Written by Stephanie on June 20th, 2017.      0 comments

2-honey-boxWe often get asked if honey can be taken into Australia.  I've contacted Customs in Australia and here is the low down:

Honey is permitted into Australia and should be packed in checked luggage not hand luggage. It must be declared for inspection on arrival. The import limit is 10 litres/10 kilograms or less for most Australian states and territories.

If travelling to Western Australia (Perth and all other WA ports) please let them know that stricter conditions apply. Honey or honey product is allowed into WA without an import permit as a liquid in individually packaged units with a capacity of 150 millimetres or less.

Topics: , Products

OSOF Sustainable Me Challenge - June

Written by Stephanie on June 11th, 2017.      0 comments

I'm loving the 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge'. Each month this year we will be challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. It gives us the challenge to try something new for the month and decide if we want to adopt it more in our lives. January's challenge was to stay away from one use plastic and styrofoam when eating out, February was to drive less, March was to avoid microplastic and other chemicals in personal products, April was to preserve some fresh produce and May was to reduce our energy usage.  It's great to try an new challenge and take something out of it to use in our every day life.  Why not join in!

This month's challenge is an interesting one, it's t
o reduce non-recyclable paper tissue waste!  I've never really worried about paper tissue waste, I've never thought about what happens to it after it's used.  I didn't realise that is wasn't recycled somehow.  And did you know that it's normally made from virgin pulp directly from trees?  Because it can't be recycled that paper only has one single use and then ends up in the landfill!  It's sad to think a huge amount to trees can provide tissue paper and nothing else, it seems such a waste of trees. 

Also making paper uses a lot of water as well as harsh chemicals to attain that pure white look.  OSOF say choosing and using re-useable cloth saves water, reduces the number of trees that need to be harvested to support your lifestyle, and reduces landfill inputs. All of these things add up to a healthier, more sustainable world.

We're going to stop using tissues and use hankys all the time, go back to cloth serviettes and use loo paper more sparingly.  How about you, are you keen to try this months challenge?

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

hanky-40Beginner: Find a handkerchief and use it! Better yet, find a bunch of them so you can always have a clean one on hand.

Step it up: Already using a handkerchief or just want to boost this month’s challenge? Add in cloth napkins if you use paper ones, and/or ditch paper towels. Use loo paper that is made from recycled paper, there are a few available now.  These are other examples of problematic single-use paper items that end up in landfills.

Want more? Re-evaluate all your home disposable paper use – switch to 100% recycled or bamboo toilet paper, make your own cloth wet wipes (not just for babies), or if you’re feeling really brave, try washable cloth toilet paper, mmm not sure I'm quite up to that level!

See the OSOF website to read more tips

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Sweetree Endeavours to be Sustainable

Written by Stephanie on June 11th, 2017.      0 comments

Here at Sweetree we are endeavouring to become more sustainable to help the environment.  All Sweetree honeys are packaged in glass jars, our propolis in glass bottles, we use paper bags instead of plastic at the markets and we are currently investigating compostable pouches for our bee pollen. We believe storing food in glass, as opposed to plastic, is much healthier for the end consumer and certainly the environment.  It also allows them to reuse or recycle the packaging after the honey has been eaten.

capping-618But it goes further than just the end product, we want the honey to be healthy all the way through the process. We ensure the honey in not stored in plastic the whole way through the process. A high percentage of beekeepers use plastic frames and foundations on the hive for honey collection, these are more economic and robust than the wooden frames and natural beeswax foundation. We have continued to use the traditional wooden frames and beeswax comb foundation wired into the frame. We believe this is not only healthier for us humans but also for the bees, let alone less plastic going to the landfill.

When harvesting our honeys we always make sure we leave enough food stores on the hives for the bees to keep them healthy over the winter and to avoid supplement feeding as much as possible in spring.  Once the honey is harvested from the hives we ensure it is not damaged by heat and pollen grains are not stripped out, therefore retaining the natural goodness of our honeys.

In both our home and business we have substantially reduced what we send to landfill, we avoid over packaging, avoid one use plastic, buy bulk, reuse or recycle as much as we can and purchase locally as much as possible.

We like to offer our customers variety on our website and sell earth friendly products that relate to bees and honey such as bee friendly seeds, HoneyWrap reusable food wraps, HoneySticks non-toxic beeswax crayons, etc. All proceeds from the bee friendly wildflower seeds go back into research to help the NZ bees; we have raised a total of $2013.

The local Rural Women of NZ group I am involved in, has a 'Share the Surplus' project. We often see fruit trees laden with fruit and not picked and it seems such a shame when there are so many people struggling to put food on the table. Our project turns that surplus into preserves. We collect fruit from people who have surplus fruit on their trees, make preserves in recycled Sweetree honey jars that customers have returned, and give it to those in need.

We have a lot to still work on but we are trying to do a little bit at a time, every little bit helps.  We believe that if everyone did a little bit towards the environment it would make a huge difference and we encourage you to make some little changes in your everyday routines to help our beautiful earth!  Thanks!
20160718 132503-292
Our lovely Rural Women group making jam for the food bank
Topics: , Enviromental

World Environment & Arbor Day - 5th June

Written by Stephanie on June 5th, 2017.      0 comments

Today is 'World Environment Day' and 'Arbor Day'!  It's a great reason to get out there and do something to help our environment, whether it's planting trees, tidying up trees, picking up rubbish on a bush track, beach, park or along the road; every little bit helps!  We've just spent last weekend planting over 250 trees around our wetland but it's an ongoing effort to think about the impact our every day activities have on the environment and lessening that impact.  


World Environment Day

world environment day wallpapers environmental awareness nature green savelife pollution clean 12-648World Environment Day is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.  It is an t is an opportunity to raise awareness and promote action on national environmental issues. 

World Environment day is a day for people to do 'something' to take care of the Earth or become an agent for change.  We can act locally, national or globally; as in individual or as a group.

This year's theme is ‘Connecting People to Nature’, which implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance and commit to being involved in protecting the Earth that we share.

Arbor Day

Matt-Planting-TreesArbor day is the day of the year when people are encouraged to plant and care for trees.  The first arbor day was in USA in 1872 when a Julius Morton began a large scale planting of trees to beautify his town and encouraged others to do the same.  It took off and now many countries observe this day as a special day to plant and tend to trees.

Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the trees on your property and plan for the future. Inspect your trees, note any broken branches or evidence of disease or insect infestation. Think about how planting new trees might improve the look of your property or provide wind or heat protection.

Even better get into involved in a local reserve native tree planting initiative!  There are plenty of events happening around the country you could take part in, search online.  This photo is of our son planting trees at the Waiwhakareke Reserve by the Hamilton Zoo last weekend, a crew of people meet on the last Saturday morning of every month.  If you want to join the team or for more information call Stephanie on 0272447759 or email

New Zealanders are being challenged to plant a native tree on Arbor Day this year to set a record for the most trees ever planted on one day in New Zealand.  You can log the trees you plant here

Read more about Sweetree's native tree plantings

Topics: , Enviromental

Sweetree Hakarimata Honey Back in Stock!

Written by Stephanie on May 27th, 2017.      0 comments

Hakarimata-main-946Finally our popular Hakarimata honey is back in stock!  It is truly a delicious honey, according to Annabelle White (Chef, Author and TV personality) "Hakarimata is super - intense, full flavoured and quite delicious".

Sweetree's Hakarimata honey is collected from the Hakarimata Range which forms part of the western rampart of the Waikato Basin.  Nestled in the foothills, our bees feast themselves on the copious sources of nectar from native flowers above and pasture flowers below.  This devine honey won Bronze in 2014, Gold in 2013 and Silver in 2012 in the 'Beekeepers Special Reserve' honey competition with the National Beekeepers Association Honey Show. We will enter it again this year for the first time in a few years.

Purchase Hakarimata honey here

Then try making Sweetree Honey Oats Cakes with Hakarimata honey.
Topics: , Products

Sweetree HaBEEtat - More Tree Plantings

Written by Stephanie on May 18th, 2017.      0 comments

You may recall that in 2013 we dug out a swampy area at the back of our property into a pond to create habitat for native birds and for our bees, it's our Sweetree HaBEEtat.  Over the last few years my stepfather has been growing and tending to native plant seeds and together we have planted hundreds of native flax, grasses and trees around the pond.  The pond is now looking fantastic and is the home to quite a few ducks, frogs, pheasants and the occasional visit from Tui.  As the trees grow we hope to see more native birds down there and that it will provide food for our bees throughout the year.

This weekend we had a working bee where friends and family joined us to plant over 250 plants.  Here's some photos of the day, it's coming along nicely!

IMG 1889  IMG 1896
pond3  pond2
    IMG 1901


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Topics: , Bee Friendly , Enviromental

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