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.


Newsletter - December 2014

Written by Stephanie on December 19th, 2014.      0 comments

It's December already!  That time of year has rolled around very fast!  If you looking for ideas for gifts this Christmas look no further.  We have great gifts on our website so check them out in our online store.

After what looked to be a promising start in September, October and November has been very tough on the bees.  But in the last week we are starting to see honey come into the hives and the bees are looking much happier.  Cross fingers it continues, so our bees can collect more of their great honey from existing locations and our new ones!

In a partnership with the Hamilton City Council Sweetree beehives now have homes at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum!  This is an exciting opportunity to produce a honey that reflects the flora of Hamilton and which we hope will turn out to be something very special.

Something special happened to our son last week!  He was interviewed on Campbell Live because his chicken is mothering a little kitten. It's a great story!

Read more in our newsletter

 
Topics: Newletters
 

Beehive Update - December 2014

Written by Martin on December 6th, 2014.      0 comments

The first week of December and finally some warm weather and no wind and/or rain!  After what looked to be a promising start in September, October and November has been very tough on the bees.  The cooler temperatures and unsettled weather have made it difficult for new queens to mate and new colonies have struggled to make headway.  There was a significant dearth of nectar through November which saw honey stores disappear as the large quantities of brood take a lot of feeding! 

In the last week I'm starting to see honey come into the hives and the bees are looking much happier.  However compared to last year when we had boxes of honey already, the hives are looking very light.
 
Ohui
Our beehives are back at Ohui and the Manuka is flowering.  The bees have built up strength reasonably well but we now need settled weather if we are to harvest any of this medal winning honey!
    
Marokopa
From excellent shape last report to dismal!  There has been little flowering in the bush and the very cold weather (we are 300m up which makes a big difference) has taken its toll. There is some Rewarewa flowering but only half the strength of last year.  The unseasonal weather may hold off the manuka flowering for a few extra weeks and this might allow us to gather a spring harvest early in the New Year.

Horsham Downs
We've been using our Horsham Downs site as a nursery to make splits and raise new hives for our new sites in Hamilton City.  This has all been completed now and the remaining hives are busy collecting bee pollen for us!  An amazing array of coloured pollen is coming in and I see that the bees are now collecting pollen from clover in the last week.
 
Four Brothers Reserve
We've shifted our beehives from the normal site at Four Brothers Reserve to a new one which is much more protected from the elements.  After an initial shaky start, (when the bees started starving), we are now back on track and things are looking up with the nearby Kanuka starting to flower.
 
Hakarimata
We have two sites on the Hakarimata range and one site is racing ahead while the other is struggling!  Still the main flow is generally after Christmas for this site and while its dramatically down from last year, bees can fill hives with honey very quickly.

Hamilton City / Kirikiriroa
We have three sites, Taitua Arboretum, Hamilton Zoo, and Hamilton Gardens. The beehives have only just gone in as with this poor weather I was fairly cautious to try new sites and risk the bees starving.  However, they are going great and already producing a surplus of honey.  Such are the benefits of the city where there is such a huge variety from residential gardens, the gully system, river walkways, road reserves and the sites themselves.  I dropped the zoo beehives into their site adjacent to the giraffe enclosure at 6:30am.  It was very quiet and also a little surreal to see seven long necks towering above the foliage and 14 large eyes staring at me stock still and watching my every move!  That's a first in beekeeping for me!
zoo
Topics: , Beehive Update
 

The Curious Tale of Captain Puffleface & Tiger!

Written by Stephanie on December 6th, 2014.      0 comments

Hen-&-KiteenOur sons, Daniel and Matthew raise chickens from one day old chicks each year.  They have a little free range egg business, called 'Who Let the Chooks Out', and sell eggs to neighbours and friends.  While feeding his chickens one morning last week Daniel decided to look for new egg spots.  As he did he came across Captain Puffleface, one of his favourite hens, that had been missing for 2-3 weeks.  She was hidden in the corner of the garden sitting on un-fertilised eggs.  Not only was she sitting on eggs, but a little face, not a chick, peeked out!  It gave Daniel a huge fright and he ran inside to tell us about it.  Thinking it was a story we were surprised to find Captain Puffleface sitting on a little kitten!

We have no idea how this all came about, I'm guessing the kitten was separated from it's mother some how and found something warm to snuggle up to in the garden one night and they have been together ever since.  Captain Puffleface is a wonderful mum, she is very protective of her baby and they are inseparable.  We now feed the kitten and have de-fleaed and de-wormed it.  The boys have called her Tiger but when I call 'chick, chick, chick' she comes up to me, so I wonder if we should rename her 'Chick'.  Tiger is becoming more adventurous and wandering around, with mum always nearby.  Whenever Tiger gets a bit scared she runs back to mum for protection.  They are very sweet together.

As you can see from the links below we have had some media interest.  The highlight was Daniel's Campbell Live interview with Ali Ikram.  Ali did a fantastic job making Daniel feel comfortable and just being himself.  They had a ball together!  In the end the story wasn't just about Tiger and Captain Puffleface it was also about Daniel and his wonderful imagination.  It was really delightful.  Have a look at the links below.

See Daniel's Campbell Live interview
Read the article and see the video interview on the Waikato Times
Read the Number 8 Network article
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

Bees Arrival Sweeten Hamilton Attractions

Written by Martin on December 6th, 2014.      0 comments

 Here is a media release the Hamilton City Council put out this week:

Three of Hamilton’s most popular visitor attractions are about to get a whole lot sweeter.
 
Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum are now home to bee hives, installed through a new partnership between Hamilton City Council and local beekeepers Sweetree Honey, who are part of the Hamilton Farmers Market.
 
Martin and Stephanie Lynch, owners of Sweetree Honey, have placed 45 bee hives across three publicly-owned facilities in a deal which will see Council on-sell some of the honey produced by the hives’ resident bees.
 
Mr Lynch, who has been involved in beekeeping for over 20 years, approached Council in early 2014, looking for iconic Hamilton locations to place some of his hives. After discussions with staff, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum were identified as ideal locations for the bees to do their business.
 
“This is an exciting opportunity to produce a honey that reflects the flora and places of Hamilton and which I hope will turn out to be something very special. The honeys we already produce are all site specific each with their own flavour and texture and this is a chance to get a taste of Hamilton in a unique way,” Mr Lynch says.
 
 “At the Hamilton Farmers Market, many locals tell me they don’t have any bees in their gardens and they would be very keen to have some. We will be adding 1,500,000 bees into the city, each with a 5km flight range, so we are very pleased to be working with Council to make some contribution to improving biodiversity and nature in the city,”
 
Mr Lynch expects the first batches of honey from the three Council sites to be available in April or May.
Martin-with-Dep-Mayor
 
Mayor Julie Hardaker says the partnership with Sweetree Honey emphasises Council’s commitment to protecting the city’s natural environment, while promoting public-private partnerships.
 
“Hamilton is known for its green spaces and this is a great match. Bees pollinate an estimated 70 per cent of our food crops, so gardeners near these three locations will benefit as well,” Mayor Hardaker says.
 
“The three locations Martin’s chosen are some of our most-loved and beautiful sites, and this enhances their reputation and the fantastic work staff are doing there.”
 
Mr Lynch expects the hives to produce about 1.5 to 2 tonnes of honey, once they are established and the bees are humming. The honey will be sold at the Hamilton Gardens shop, Hamilton Farmers Market, and fed to honey-eating animals at Hamilton Zoo.
 
 
 

Bee Swarms

Written by Stephanie on October 2nd, 2014.      0 comments

It's that time of year when you are likely to see a few bee swarms.  For those that don't know much about swarms I thought I would explain what they are, why bees swarm and what to do if you have one turn up at your place.

Firstly, have a look at one of our beehives swarming!


 

What is a Swarm and Why do Bees Swarm?


Bee-SwarmMainly in springtime you may see a very large group of bees flying together or you may see a big clump (like a ball) of bees hanging from a branch, on a fence, against your house, or some other place.  This is a swarm of bees.  

A swarm is when a queen bee takes a large group  of worker bees (usually about 50-60% of the hive) with her and leaves the hive to find a new home.  It is a natural means of reproduction for bee colonies.  ​A swarm of bees could consist of thousands to tens of thousands of bees.

The reason bees swarm could be due to one of these causes:
  • There are two queens in a hive so one takes half the bees out and finds another home
  • There are too many bees for one hive, a new queen is created and the old queen moves off with some of the bees
  • The bees are simply predisposed genetically to swarming (instinctive)


What to Do if You are in the Path of Moving Swarm:


Don't panic! Don't run!  Don't fling your arms around!  Just remember they will have filled up on honey before they left and will be docile and unable to sting.  But to be safe just crouch down low and stay still until they pass.
 

What to Do if you Have a Swarm on your Property:


Don't panic!  Don't touch them!  Don't spray them!  They will not harm you unless you harm them.

The best thing you can do is to get hold of a local beekeeper to come and collect it. There are hobby beekeeping clubs all around the country and they are often looking for swarms to fill new hives.

Look for a beekeeper in your area on the National Beekeepers Association website.  Or google a hobby beekeeper's club near you.  Here are some club websites:

Waikato Hobby Beekeeping Club
Auckland Beekeepers Club
Whangarei Beekeeping Club
Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeeping Club
 
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Beehive Update - September 2014

Written by Martin on September 21st, 2014.      0 comments

bees-close-up-outside-hiveIt’s raining so it must be spring! In the last four weeks the bees have been collecting pollen as fast as they can for new bee brood (you can see the pollen on the bees legs on the photo), and most of our queens are laying strongly. Many hives have good numbers of bees and they are starting to burn through their honey stores. The key focus has been to get our spring treatment in for varroa mite and ensure that all hives still have sufficient honey stores until the first flows start. There have been few losses of hives and we have already made splits for new hives and supplied them with queen cells.
 
 
Ohui

Our hives are ready to return to Ohui once the Coromandel gets some drier weather! Spring always seems to be earlier in the Coromandel and the Manuka can be flowering by November in this district. Our site provides for a great spring build-up and so we will look to get our bees back there soon.
    
Marokopa

So far our hives are in excellent shape. August was cold and bitter, but the bees are now away with lots of bee numbers and they are benefiting from the large honey stores carried through. A few hives are looking weak and these have been boosted with additional brood, honey and pollen as required. Beehive strength is so good that we have already made up an additional twenty new hives from this site.

Horsham Downs

Our nucs (mini hives) all carried over well through winter and are now into full size units. We’ve had a great survival rate although honey stores are quite low. As such we have had to start feeding a little sugar syrup to get them through early spring until the willows and barberry start flowering. The strong hives now have pollen traps on them and we are starting to collect pollen.
 
Four Brothers Reserve

The hives left at Four Brothers Reserve have done okay and will be restocked with additional hives in November. We have an additional site for this area which looks to be much more protected from the elements which we will try out this season. We look forward to getting this delicious honey back into stock!
 
Hakarimata

The bees are also doing well at our Hakarimata site with plenty of stores on hand. The beehives have been repositioned to make access to them a little easier and some will also need splits taken from them shortly.

Here's a movie I took of our beehives in Marokopa this September showing the bees in springtime.

 
 

Reusable Food Wrap

Written by Stephanie on September 20th, 2014.      0 comments

I was staggered to work out that I would use at least 220 metres of plastic food wrap a year just wrapping school lunches, let alone any other use!  It might not seem much but if most people do that it is a lot of plastic being dumped. 

Did you know we throw away 22 million plastic bags each week in New Zealand?  I wonder how much we throw out in glad wrap?  These take 20 years to break down in a landfills.  There is 189,000 tonnes of plastic dumped into our landfills every year. 

I wanted to cut back the amount of plastic our house uses and have started using Honeywraps, reusable food wrap, along with other measures (like not using supermarket bags, etc).  See my blogs on reducing plastic.
 
Honeywrap reusable food wrap is a fantastic non-toxic and sustainable alternative to plastic wrap - what a great way to reduce landfill!  Honeywrap is perfect for wrapping cheeses, lunches, leftovers, salads, snacks on the run and much more.
 
Honeywrap Sandwich in hexagonHoneywrap is made with 100% organic cotton blended with beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil.  This perfect combination makes the cloth tacky which can then be shaped over your food and dishes. It looks great and can be used again and again... and most importantly it reduces waste, so is good for our planet. Keep your food fresh and your conscience free!  I love it.

I worked out I would probably have spend about $30- $35 per year on plastic food wrap and for about the same price I can deck the drawer out with Honeywraps and feel good about not throwing out plastic food wrap.  At the end of the day I figure it isn't about the money, it's about helping our environment, which I'm passionate about!
 

Check out Honeywraps!

Topics: , Enviromental
 

What Can We Do to Help NZ Bees?

Written by Stephanie on September 10th, 2014.      0 comments

National Beekeepers Association created 'Bee Aware Month', a major campaign designed beeto educate New Zealanders about the importance of the humble, often overlooked, honey bee. Bees are critically important to New Zealand and to the New Zealand economy – much more so than you might think!

Without bees, our gardens would be without many of their plants and flowers, and our major agri-export industries (worth around $5 billion) would be in severe trouble and a huge 2/3 of our food would disappear!  The 2/3 of our produce that depend on honey bees for pollination provide 35% of our calories, most of our minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.  What would happen to our nutrient food intake and in turn our health if our bees disappeared?  Albert Einstein said “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live".

Honey bee colonies are dying or disappearing in record numbers in USA.  Thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace.  The bees seem to fly off never to return, leaving the queen bee and mother of the hive to starve to death.

Things aren’t quite so bad in New Zealand, yet, but New Zealand bees are increasingly threatened with the long-term effects of varroa mite and other new diseases.  Added to this is the misuse of pesticides that affect bees in gardens and on farms, the loss of habitat for shelter and the lack of flowers for bee food.
 

Here’s what can we do to help our precious New Zealand bees survive:

 
  • Go organic or at least limit pesticides in our gardens.  If you struggle with that idea then look for bee friendly sprays and use them at dusk when the bees are back in their hives.
  • Grow plants in your garden that attract bees.  Bees love plants with ample amounts of pollen and nectar wildflowersuch as lavender, rosemary, calendula and forget-me-not .  Remember bees are attracted to these colours: yellow, blue-green, blue and ultraviolet flowers.    You can purchase wildflower bee friendly seeds here.   All the money from these seed sales go back to the National Beekeepers Association to help NZ bees.  Also check out the Urban Trees for Bees pamphlet showing planting suggestions.  
  • Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water.
  • Don’t mow you lawn too often, leave clover and dandelion in the lawn for a while for bees to forage on (if you can stand it).
  • Eat more organic food to encourage producers to limit pesticides on crops.
  • If you come across a swarm of bees please don’t call the exterminators but instead call your local beekeeping club.  The National Beekeeping Association have some contact numbers on their website.  Having said this you do want to destroy wasp nests as they rob beehive stores.  You can pour petrol on their nests or contact a terminator.  Make sure you learn the difference between a wasp nest and natural beehive though!
  • Find out more about the honey you are eating and make sure it is from beekeepers who care about their bee’s health and not just about production.
  • Spread the word by letting people know this information and support any petitions or change in policy that further protects our bees.

“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.”  by Krishna, Rama

Information for this blog post was sourced from The National Beekeepers Association and The Telegraph
Topics: , Bee Facts, Bee Friendly
 

September is Bee Aware Month

Written by Stephanie on August 31st, 2014.      0 comments

bee-aware

Bees around the world are in trouble. A world without bees would be a very bleak place indeed. Much of our food depends on pollination by bees as do our gardens and a lot of other products we rely on. Over $5 billion of New Zealand agricultural exports also depend on bees.

Bee numbers worldwide are in decline and we must do all that we can to protect them.  Bees are being attacked by a number of major pests and diseases. There are also suffering from a decline in nutritional forage for bees. Nutritional stress is considered to be one of the main factors behind large-scale bee losses. Lack of food also compromises the bees’ resistance to pests and diseases. Another major problem are pesticides and sprays which harm bees in a number of ways.

While New Zealand bees are not as threatened as bees in other countries, events like Bee Aware Month are crucial to raising public awareness to prevent similar losses occurring here.

 

How can we help?

One of the best things we can do is make sure there is enough food for our kiwi bees. We can do this by planting ‘bee friendly’ plants; in our gardens, on our farms, in our public gardens and even along our roadsides. For a list of bee friendly plants go to http://nba.org.nz/about-bees/beneficial-plants-for-bees

We can also be careful how we use pesticides in our gardens. Try to avoid using any chemical sprays in your gardens at all. But if you have to spray make sure it is in the late evening after bees have gone to bed. Don’t spray while plants are flowering and avoid spraying plants that you see bees feeding on. You can also check the labels on garden sprays and avoid products containing neonicotinoids.

There are lots of other ways to help our New Zealand bees, read my 'Disappearing Bees and What We can Do' blog on other ideas.

 
Donate

The National Beekeepers Association is the main advocate for bees in New Zealand. The NBA wants to raise money for research that will help bees. You will be able donate during Bee Aware Month by going to www.beeaware.org.nz

For more information on how you can help NZ bees go to 'Helping Our NZ Bees'

Topics: , Bee Friendly
 

Future Scientist?

Written by Stephanie on July 15th, 2014.      0 comments


Thanks to those that have been supporting our son, Matthew's, busking at the Hamilton Farmers Market!  He has been raising money for Malaghan Institute, this is a great cause!  Look out for him because he would like to do some more!
 
1-busking-at-HFM 2-Couting-Money
Matthew busking with his Violin at Hamilton Farmers Market Matthew counting Malaghan Institute money after busking - $104!!
 

Why Malaghan Institute?


Matthew would like to be a scientist when he grows up and find a cure for Neuroblastoma (an aggressive childhood cancer his cousin has had), Cystic Fibrosis and other diseases with no current cure.  Getting distinction in an international (ICAS) Science exam has spurred him on.  He loves to read about the body and the intricacies of how it works.  After reading Malaghan Institute newsletters back to back he decided he wanted to busk to help them raise money for their research.   They have been very supportive of his future dreams and have given him a book on how the immunity works which is very detailed and he has devoured it.  He is planning on talking about the immune system in his class speech this term.
 

About Malaghan Institute


The Malaghan Institute is New Zealand’s leading medical research institute focused on finding cures for cancer, asthma and allergy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and infectious disease. 

Their scientists believe that the key to fighting illness lies in harnessing the immune system, the body’s own natural defence against disease.  To find out in detail what they do check out their website.  It is just amazing what they are doing, there are some very clever people out there!

They are a registered charity, and their pioneering research programmes are reliant on support from the community, the corporate sector, contestable grants and trusts.  We would encourage you to support them too!  There are so many ways you can help, they list them on their website.  Even if you can't help them financially you may be able to help by giving a few hours.
 

Our Visit!


Matthew was invited to have a tour of the Malaghan labs so we recently drove down to Wellington to hand over the latest busking money and have a tour of their amazing facilities.  Here's some photos.  Malaghan Institute gave Matthew a 'Future Scientist' certificate to thank him for his support.  Thank you Malaghan Institute for all your AMAZING work and your support of Matthew!
 



3-Handing-over-money
4-after-handing-over-money
Matthew handing over his latest busking money - $104 Matthew & Shannon from Malaghan Institute


 



5-tour-Asthma-lab
6-Checking-out-DNA
Checking out the different laboratories DNA is sooo fascinating!!!



7-Thanks-Malaghan
Thanks for the great tour Malaghan!!




 
Topics: , Events
 

Plastic Free July!

Written by Stephanie on June 30th, 2014.      0 comments

Did you know we throw away 22 million plastic bags each week in New Zealand?  These take 20 years to break down in a landfills.  There is 189,000 tonnes of plastic dumped into our landfills every year.  We find that very concerning.  What can we do to limit that?

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).

Sweetree we will be taking the challenge!  We have actually been eliminating plastic for a while.  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 (although have been a bit slack on this lately, so will focus on this again) and starting to 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 investigating a non plastic alternative for packaging our bee pollen.  But we can always do better!  This month we will really be careful about the products that we buy and eliminate plastic packaging, especially single-use plastic, as much as possible and make sure I always have those cloth bags with me when shopping.

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 though out the month also.



See other blogs on this topic:
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Beehive Update - May 2014

Written by Martin on May 27th, 2014.      0 comments

Martin-at-Ohui-Apiary-site
The chilly tendrils of winter are now upon us and I'm pleased to say our bees are in very good shape having come off a great summer.  Most of our hives have at least one good full box of honey stores and our varroa treatment has worked well. No sign of any nasty bee diseases which is also pleasing. The wasps have been epidemic at some of our sites, but don't appear to have done any significant damage to the bees. We put on entrance reducers early this year and what with the fine late summer and plentiful stores, bee populations have remained strong and kept the wasps out.


Ohui

Our bees came out of Ohui with a manuka harvest in December 2013 and will return in September this year. This honey has turned out to be a real favourite at the Hamilton Farmer's markets and with a 10+ antibacterial activity is in demand for those winter colds.  

Marokopa

We love Marokopa, what a fantastic part of NZ it is!  Last spring we were treated to a Rewarewa honey crop after two years of no show!  The cold and wet weather over December and January greatly reduced access of the bees to the  flowering manuka and so a relatively small amount was collected.  However the late summer resulted in a large harvest through to the end of February with prolific hill country flowers and native rata. We have never seen so many wasps as we did this year, they were everywhere in March, covering trees and anything that moved! Wasp traps were set with limited success and one large wasp nest was destroyed, but this year's forecast mild winter raises concerns as to how many wasps we might see next season.

Horsham Downs

The bees are settled in for winter and we will carry additional nucs (mini hives) over winter to help with increase of hives in spring. This spring we will be shifting our hives down to the newly created pond where we have been doing lots of planting - although plenty more is required! We had a good honey crop this year with lots of clover flowering.
 
Four Brothers Reserve

Unfortunately we had a poor season at Four Brothers Reserve this year. Our exposed site felt the full force of the wind and rain in December and the first part of January. The bees themselves have survived reasonably well but most hives will be moved back to Horsham Downs over winter to protect them. No Four Brothers Reserve honey this year!

Hakarimata

We had a great crop of honey from the Hakarimata ranges. Our apiary site is beautifully protected from the elements and the bees prospered in the hot summer. We extracted honey in February on one of the hottest days of the year in a very still wind! It was pretty hard on the body but we did get a great result. The bees have subsequently refilled at least one box per hive and are well provisioned for winter. Once again we have had some very favourable comments about this honey from our regular customers at the Hamilton Farmers market.

We are now planning and preparing for spring and hope to take our hive numbers up to around 250 hives this year.
Topics: , Beehive Update
 

Newsletter - May 2014

Written by Stephanie on May 14th, 2014.      0 comments

Have you tried this season's honeys yet?  Remember each season our bees create a slightly different honey depending on the floral sources available, so the flavours will be slightly different to last season.

The chilly tendrils of winter are now upon us and I'm pleased to say our bees are in very good shape having come off a great summer.  Most of our hives have at least one good full box of honey stores and our varroa treatment has worked well. No sign of any nasty bee diseases which is also pleasing.

The temperatures have dropped, the wind is wild and it is feeling like winter all of a sudden!  Great time to sit in by the fire and keep away from those winter bugs.  No one likes getting colds and flu's, but you can protect yourself against them with natural immunity builders.  Since earliest civilization, Bee Hive products such as Propolis, Bee Pollen and Honey have been used for their nourishing, healing, protective and rejuvenating qualities.

Read more of the newsletter here
Topics: , Newletters
 

Wash Your Face with Honey!

Written by Stephanie on February 19th, 2014.      0 comments

I have cleansed, toned and moisturised my face for just about every day for 30 years (now I'm feeling old!).  It is part of my daily routine, and it just doesn't feel right when I can't do it.  I buy all my skincare through a fantastic New Zealand natural skincare company - Oasis Beauty, which I love.  They are currently out of stock of my cleanser and I'm completely out.  I was wondering what I could do in the meantime, other than use soap (which of course I could use).  And I thought "Of course!  Honey!"

I got about a teaspoon or so of Sweetree Honey in the palm of my hand, added a touch of water and massaged it over my face, then let it sit for a while.  Of course it is sticky so you need to make sure you pull back your hair!  Then I rinsed it off.  It's quick and easy to do and feels great afterwards!  Give it a try!
Face-Washing
 

Why is Honey so Good for your Skin?

  1. It is antibacterial and antimicrobial, so it is great for acne treatment and prevention
  2. It is slightly drying, so it will help soak up any pimples or oiliness.
  3. It soaks into your skin and is extremely moisturizing and soothing. It helps create a glow on your skin.
  4. Full of beneficial enzymes and antioxidants that can help with anti-aging.
  5. It’s great for acne, aging skin, normal skin, dry skin … honey loves every type of skin
  6. It is healing and helps repair sores and scars.
  7. It’s 100% natural and great for your skin!
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Topics: , Health Articles
 

Sweetreee Honey on Toast at Ibis

Written by Vicki Ralvich-Horan (Nourish Magazine) on February 12th, 2014.      0 comments

Honey on toast; this humble breakfast enjoyed by millions around the world each morning has taken on new meaning at the Ibis Tainui in Hamilton.

Last year Head Chef, Simon Goodchild, was looking for a local honey to offer his guests when he discovered the award winning Sweetree Honey through a simple goggle search.  A visit to the Hamilton Farmers Market confirmed Sweetree were a perfect fit and it wasn’t long before the relationship flourished.
Honey-dispay-at-IBIS-with-Planet-21-sign-copy
As a member of the Accor group Ibis Tainui Hamilton have embraced Planet 21.  In lay mans terms, Planet 21 is the Accor group’s corporate responsibility policy, or as Accor put it “making sustainable hospitality the focus of its strategic vision”.

Planet 21 outlines Accor’s 21 commitments to a sustainable future and encompasses health, nature, carbon, innovation, local development, employment and dialogue.  “21 commitments for the well-being of our world.”
So when Simon went in search of a local honey he simply wanted to provide Ibis guests with a local honey, but he soon discovered Sweetree ticked many more boxes that Accor are trying to promote with their Planet 21 programme.

Sweetree is a family business owned by Stephanie and Martin Lynch.  The Lynch's take the concept of local honey one step further by not blending their honey from their various different apiaries around the Waikato.  Instead Sweetree, much like many world class vineyards, embrace the nuances each apiary site produces.  This concept is then further expanded with Sweetree honeys also being distinct to the season the honey was produced which results in subtle changes each year, or vintage, reflecting what Mother nature provided that year.  A hot dry summer may mean certain flowers flourish one year to be scarce the following due to high winds or a lot of rain.
honey-on-display-at-IBIS
Sweetree Honeys now takes pride of place on the Ibis Tainui Hamilton breakfast buffet.  The jars, (that’s right, jars, no individual plastic pouches here) help people to recognise that each honey is distinct.  It’s clear, Simon says, that the honey is popular by the sheer volume we are going through but also the way the guests have embraced it.  In fact you will often see guests take the whole jar to their table, laughs Simon.

Because the honey is so popular among the guests Ibis now also have jars of Sweetree Honey available for guests to buy and take a sweet reminder of the Waikato home with them.

The glass jars Sweetree Honey comes in are another bonus for Simon as it reduces packaging waste.  Stephanie and Martin have long encouraged clients to recycle the jars either by repurposing them or by returning them so that they can be reused.  You will often see Simon at the Hamilton Farmers Market returning a box of empty jars but now there is another reason Simon is so keen to return the jars to Sweetree.

Last year “one of our employees” Simon says “came to us after watching a TV show on child poverty wanting to help”.  So Ibis Tainui Hamilton looked for a school they could help and adopted a local primary school.  At first they helped get a breakfast club up and running, now they deliver lunch as well as morning and afternoon teas.   Simon, who is also now on the Board of Trustees at the school is always on the lookout for other ways they can help.  “We are always crying out for more stuff” says Simon.

So now those jars that Simon returns back to Sweetree are handed over to the Horsham Downs Rural Woman’s group, Horotiu Honeys who regularly hold working bees, this time filling the jam with homemade jam.  Then it is Stephanie’s job to return the, now full jars back to Simon who makes sure they go to good use at the local primary school.  What a wonderful example of local businesses working together and making a difference on so many levels!
Swap-fo-jars-at-farmers-market---best
Simon returning jars to Sweetree Honey at the Hamilton Farmers Market
Topics: , About Sweetree
 
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"This honey so delicious!  It taste just like when I was a kid, rather than the supermarket brands"  Anna Bradford, Rotorua
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