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.


Merry Christmas!!

Written by Stephanie on December 25th, 2015.      0 comments

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has supported us this year, we wouldn't be here without you!  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Enjoy family, friends, sun and sand, and please keep safe over this holiday break!

Best Wishes
Martin & Stephanie

Merry-Christmas-2015
 

Remedies for Bee Stings

Written by Stephanie on December 18th, 2015.      0 comments

bee-sting

As you may have read in my last blog worker bees only sting if they feel threatened.   But there are times when you just can't avoid being stung, if this happens what should you do? 

Please note:  Bee stings can give different reactions, from temporary pain and discomfort to a severe allergic reaction.  This blog does not cover severe allergic reactions.  If you have a severe allergic reaction please seek urgent medical attention.  If a reaction persists for over a week or covers an area greater than 7–10 cm please see a doctor.
 


Taking the Sting Out

When a bee stings you, the barbed stinger remains embedded in the skin, attached to the stinger is the venom sac, which can carry on pumping venom into the body for up to 10 minutes. For this reason doctors recommend removing the stinger as soon as possible.

It used to be said that pinching or squeezing the stinger could empty the venom sac into the sting, making things worse.  Studies have since shown the amount of venom released does not change whether the sting is pinched or scraped off, but a delay of a few seconds leads to more venom being injected.  Therefore, stingers can be removed by either scraping or brushing them away, or by pulling them out of the skin.

Check out  10 Ways to Remove a Bee Stinger Without Using Tweezers

 

Remedies


The sting may be painful for a few hours and swelling and itching may last for a week. You should avoid scratching the area as this may increase the itching and swelling.   Once the stinger is removed try to wash the area with soap and warm water and place a cold compress on top to reduce the pain and swelling.  Or you could try any of these remedies.
 
  • If you are in a remote area you could spread mud on the area and let it dry, but wash with soap and warm water when you can.
  • Spread baking soda paste on the area and allow it to dry.  Using this or the mud draws the poison out of the area.
  • Pain medications and antihistamines can also help relieve pain, swelling, and itching in the area.
  • Apply toothpaste.
  • Mix a paste of vinegar and baking soda and place on the sting.
  • Apply honey.
  • Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.

Some of our customers recommend:
  • Rub an ice cube over the area till it is melted or the pain has gone away which might take two cubes! This method is so effective and seems to stop swelling and even the itchiness you get a few days later!
  • Chop an onion in half and pop it on the sting, it seems to draw out the nasty stuff.
  • Take Homeopathic Apis.
  • Apply vinegar straight away, followed by a kombucha scoby wrapped on to the sting.
  • packet of lollies for a child...works a treat, for total distraction!
 
Some information for this blog was research from www.en.wikipedia.org and www.wisegeek.com
 
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Why Do Bees Sting?

Written by Stephanie on December 11th, 2015.      0 comments

bee stingHave you ever been stung by a bee?  I think I have only been stung once when I was about 10 years old.  I still remember it clearly as if it was yesterday.  I was walking in the grass in my lovely red roman sandals at school and as I lifted by foot to walk a bee flew under my toes and as I stepped it stung me.  It gave me a huge fright and man did it sting!  I didn't get a reaction and I don't even remember how I got the sting out but from then on I was scared of bees and getting stung again.
 
Of course after meeting Martin I have grown a new appreciation for bees and I am now comforted by the fact that a honey bee will rarely sting when it is away from its hive foraging for nectar or pollen.  The only reason a bee would sting someone is if they stepped on it or handed it roughly.  Bees will however attack intruders who are disturbing their hive.  Hence Martin has had hundreds of stings!  When a bee stings it also releases an ‘alarm pheromone’ to signal to other bees in the hive to attack.  This is one of the reasons why beekeepers use smokers when they are working hives, it covers up the alarm pheromones.  Because the worker bees release the alarm pheromone when threatened Martin is very careful not to crush or harm the bees when harvesting honey.

So my advice to you would be don’t wave your arms around when a bee comes near you, just sit there quietly and still and when it realizes you are not a flower it will move on.  And if you are going to look into a beehive always wear a suit!
 

Here are some interesting facts about bees and their stings:

  • Bees are the only insect with a strongly barbed sting
  • As the sting lodges into the victim’s skin it tears loose from the bee’s abdomen and the bee die within minutes
  • The female bees (the queen and the worker bees) are the only ones that sting
  • The queen’s stinger is smooth so can therefore sting over and over (but don’t worry she never leaves the hive unless she is swarming to find a new home)
  • A swarm of bees is not aggressive, they are just looking for a new home and have no honey or young to defend
  • The large drone bees do not have stingers
  • A bee sting consists of three parts – a stylus and two barbed sides

The next blog will give you some tips of what to do if you are stung.


Some information for this blog was research from www.en.wikipedia.org and www.wisegeek.com
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Book Review: Honey, Nature's Golden Healer

Written by Stephanie on December 4th, 2015.      0 comments

goldenbookDrawing on her background in the biological sciences, Gloria Havenhand illustrates the many ailments that honey can help alleviate, including IBS and gastric ulcers, and argues it is essential for healthy living - boosting the immune system and helping prevent certain diseases. But honey is also a delicious treat and Gloria claims we should eat it daily, using it as an alternative natural sweetener to sugar. She also tackles other bee products, discussing how propolis, a sticky resin produced by bees when making their hive, can help relieve long-term sufferers of skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, and how pollen can be used by athletes to boost energy and performance. This informative and illuminating book will show us all the links between honey and good health and why protecting the honey bee is important not only for its own survival, but for our own longevity.

We have a copy of this book and I love it!  It has lots of interesting information and wonderful photos.  I highly recommend it!
 

Purchase Honey - Nature's Golden Healer book

Topics: , Products
 

Newsletter - November 2015

Written by Stephanie on November 27th, 2015.      0 comments

It's so hard to believe we are already at the end of November and Christmas is looming up fast!   It's been a very busy spring so far... in fact its nearly over!  Almost every hive has been split and most have been re-queened with breeder queen cells.  In general most of our sites are going reasonably well and despite the splits, bee numbers are satisfactory. There has been particularly good spring nectar flows in and around Hamilton so that's great.

In this newsletter you will see some great Christmas gift ideas, find out about purchasing the Sweetree range over the holiday period and receive a yummy 'Sweetree Honey & Fresh Blueberry Mille Feuille' recipe.

Read the latest newsletter here!
Topics: , Newletters
 

Beehive Update - November 2015

Written by Martin on November 24th, 2015.      0 comments

Spring 2015:

Its been a very busy spring so far... so fast its nearly over!  Almost every hive has been split and most have been requeened with breeder queen cells. In general most of our sites are going reasonably well and despite the splits, bee numbers are satisfactory. There has been particularly good spring nectar flows in and around Hamilton so that's great.

Hive numbers are now back to our standard 250 colonies and we have also made up an additional 100 colonies for a new beekeeping business. Not bad considering this is a part-time job!

We've started putting on supers (honey boxes) at all our sites and are seeing some good flows coming on. One beekeeper who I spoke to last week had already started extracting honey! It looks like our Marokopa site will have the Rewarewa trees flowering in the next few weeks, and this is a very nice honey. At Horsham Downs its been great to see first the gorse (sorry we beekeepers love the gorse!), then willow, then barberry and hawthorn, cabbage trees and now the first signs of clover coming through. We've had some excellent quality pollen collection.

The word is that its likely to be a short fast season with a dreaded drought coming through quickly in early summer. I know there are many worried farmers and it will certainly have an impact on honey collection if it goes dry too quickly.

Wherever I go there is always such an interest in bees and beekeeping and there are always plenty of questions. It seems many people are fascinated by these little creatures and certainly I am as well! A lot of people are keen to have a hive in their back yard or already have one or two or three, yes, they soon start multiplying! Its a very relaxing hobby and one or two hives can produce more than enough for a family, so if you are keen and have the space give it a go. I'm a third generation beekeeper, with my dad and his dad keeping bees as a hobby. Its a nice connection that I hope my two boys might have the chance to take up later on. 

If you are interesting in hives in your back yard contact your local beekeeper hobbyist club.  Here are some that we know about:

Waikato Hobby Beekeeping Club
Auckland Beekeepers Club
Whangarei Beekeeping Club
Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeeping Club
Topics: , Beehive Update
 

We Love The LifeFood Range

Written by Stephanie on November 20th, 2015.      0 comments

LifeFood CacaoLifeFood's is a New Zealand business producing certified organic superfoods.  We love their range!  They source the highest quality nutrient rich amazing superfoods from around the globe.  They are very passionate about quality and making sure the products are 100% organic and have a very rigorous process of screening suppliers and growers to ensure they only source the best products possible.

For example they have tested over 20 cacao suppliers around the world and of these 18 of them failed the testing as they were either not actually raw at all, or they were not organic, or worse not heirloom.  After years of research they are confident that they have the cleanest, purest form of 100% raw organic cacao on the planet!  The cacao is an heirloom variety of cacao that is wild harvested by locals in Ecuador on donkey back straight out of the rain forest. This is just one example of how good the quality of their products truly are!!

They're passionate about putting quality ethical foods before profit and ensure they don't just sell products but provide healthy foods that will help their customers. 

Their philosophy is similar to ours - they are passionate about health and believe that true health comes from eating a diet that is nutrient dense from food that has had minimal processing, to ensure it retains its goodness. 

They (as well as us) believe that in order to have optimum health, a diet that has an abundance of raw super foods is essential, as it's a sure fire way to boost your immune system and to give you an abundance of energy. It's amazing how much difference eating 'real food' makes to a persons general well being.

We love LifeFoods range so much we decided to sell it on our website.  Check out the LifeFood range here.


 
Topics: , Products
 

Book Review: What's Cooking?

Written by Stephanie on November 13th, 2015.      0 comments

What's-Cooking-cookbookThis cookbook is for kids who want to cook, bake or make something in the kitchen without any help from Mum or Dad.  The book was created by Hamilton mum & daughter, Claudia & Isa Aalderink.

All the recipes are made and tested by 11 year old Isa and photos were captured by Claudia, a talented photographer.  The instructions are easy to follow, along with very helpful step by step photos.  You'll love the photography!  The recipes are all easy to make without any electrical mixing equipment or microwave!  Sometimes you just need some elbow grease and effort to make something great and share with our family and friends.  The recipes use kitchen equipment that most people already have.  In the back of the book is a list of all the tools that are used.  You will also find a list with measures.

The recipes cover breakfast, lunch, snacks, baking and desserts!  Just some of the many recipes are buttermilk scones, pizza scrolls, savoury muffins, cheese twists, ginger kisses, truffles and apple crumble.  Just imagine having these lovingly prepared by your child!

Isa and Claudia challenge you to have an amazing time in the kitchen and make some great recipes on your own.  Of course you can add your own favourites to each recipe if you like.  Ask the grocery shopper in your family to help you with the shopping list and you are ready to go!

This attractive and easy to use kids cookbook would make a great Christmas present for that budding young chef!
 

Purchase 'What's Cooking?' kids cookbook

Topics: , Products
 

Natural Crayons for Kids

Written by Stephanie on November 6th, 2015.      0 comments

Most commercial crayons are made with paraffin, a petroleum based wax that is not easily biodegradable, and other ingredients that may be questionable.  In the past there have been recalls and warnings for lead, asbestos, and most recently, mercury in crayons. 

honysticksIt's wonderful to know there are non-toxic options out there now!  One of these is NZ made 'Honeysticks', beeswax crayons.  Honeysticks beeswax crayons are made from New Zealand beeswax and non-toxic pigments so they are natural and safe for children.  Honeysticks were developed by a preschool teacher who was looking for safe and natural crayons for her pupils. Realising that her only option was to import non-toxic crayons, the idea for Honeysticks was born. 

The beeswax to create Honeysticks is a natural by-product of honey production. The sustainable process causes minimal impact on the environment and gives the crayons a wonderful scent of honey.

The unique chubby shape of toddler sized Honeysticks makes them easier for small hands to hold, but much more difficult for small hands to break! Honeysticks have been "tested in preschools and the kids have tried to break them but they just can't. Plus they love the smell!"  They also come in long thin crayons for older children.  You're kids will love these vibrant colours!


Purchase Honey Stick beeswax crayons here.


 
Topics: , Enviromental , Products
 

Bee Swarms

Written by Stephanie on October 29th, 2015.      0 comments

Spring is the 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

 

Read More:

Why do bees sting?
Remedies fro bee stings
 
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Why Are Beeswax Candles Better than Paraffin Wax Candles?

Written by Stephanie on October 23rd, 2015.      0 comments

round-webBeeswax is a remarkable by product of honey.  Beeswax is made by the youngest honey bees in a colony, they are too young to forage for nectar.  To produce the wax they gorge themselves on honey and link themselves together by the hundreds.   After several hours wax starts to flow from pockets in their abdomens.  Each bee then scrapes off the wax with their legs and chews it into soft pellets.  They then use these pellets to make perfectly engineered honeycomb cells.  The hexagon shape used is the most efficient storage structure ever developed by any species, including humans.

The benefits of beeswax are surprising... Did you know that burning beeswax produces negative ions that circulate in the room and attract pollutants and clean your air?  Many people report that burning a beeswax candle in your bedroom 30 minutes before falling asleep produces a more restful sleep.

Beeswax is also used in many skin care products because it provides a protection against irritants while still allowing the skin to breathe. It also offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral benefits making it helpful in treating skin irritation.

Paraffin wax candles on the hand are a byproduct of petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Therefore inhaling the fumes from paraffin candles is not great for your health. According to a study done at South Carolina State University in 2009, the chemicals found in the fumes of paraffin candles are linked to cancer, birth defects, and such respiratory ailments as asthma––especially when there are many of them burning in enclosed, unventilated spaces like restaurants, churches, or a room in your home.

I know which one I'd prefer to burn in my house!  Beeswax is natural and has positive effects on our body.  Check out our range of beeswax candles.

"My daughter and I do love your candles, we both have allergies and are sleeping better because of them."  Carla, Feilding

 
Topics: , Enviromental , Health Articles, Products
 

Book Review: Nourish Cookbook

Written by Stephanie on October 17th, 2015.      0 comments

Nourish Magazine celebrates fresh local flavour. This cookbook compiles some of the best recipes from the past three years into one great book.

Full of delicious, yet simplNourish-Cookbook-covere recipes that will quickly become family favourites. With a fresh new edition of Nourish out at the start of each season the cookbook follows this theme with four chapters; one for each season.

With 130 pages of beautiful recipes from the Nourish kitchen over the past three years including a delicious image to accompany each, Nourish – The Cookbook, is exactly what Nourish fans have come to expect. Fresh local flavour rolled into easy to follow and achieve recipes that encourage and inspire.

Discover and relish the joys of cooking from fresh seasonal produce by purchasing the Nourish Cookbook today!

 
Topics: , Products
 

Bee Aware Month Winners!

Written by Stephanie on October 9th, 2015.      0 comments

'Bee Aware' month is officially over but hopefully it has given everyone inspiration to carry on looking after our NZ bees ongoing and planting in our gardens to feed the bees.

Over Bee Aware month we had a couple of competitions and we would now like to announce the winners!

Drum Roll Please!!
 

The winners are:

  • Milind Bangera won the Facebook competition of goodies worth $100 with these comments: 'Love to win this for my wife, as she is an awesome person. Every year after winter she prepares the garden and plants lots of different color flowers (yellow, blue, purple and pink) she also keeps water in the bird bath for the bees (I never knew bees get thirsty) and she always uses chemical free sprays in our garden. these are the little thing that can help the bee population:)'.  We loved that his wife plants a great variety of flowers for the bees, has a drinking station for them and doesn't use chemical sprays and we loved that he thinks his wife is awesome!!!
  • These were the winners of the colouring competition:
Under 6 years - Isabelle Blackmore
Colour-Comp-6-years

7  years & over - Emily Steel
colour-comp-7-years

Congratulations everyone, your prizes are on there way!

 
Topics: , Bee Friendly
 

What's Different About Sweetree Honey?

Written by Stephanie on October 2nd, 2015.      0 comments

Honey is one of the oldest known sweeteners.  It has been an essential part of our diet since earliest times and there is increased interest in its culinary and health properties.  Not only is it delicious to eat, honey is hailed for its medicinal properties – it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and packed with highly valuable nutrients.
 

Honey spoonsWhat's Different About Sweetree Honey?

Sweetree Honey is a true reflection of the Waikato's flora.  Much like a great wine reflects the terroir of where the grapes have grown, Sweetree Honey’s different varieties reflect the area and season the bees worked their magic.  From the gorgeous caramel and butterscotch flavour  of the Hakarimata to the  thick and buttery Marokopa Spring - there is a Sweetree honey to suit all tastes and occasions.

Unblended honeys are not new, but the fact that Sweetree's honeys are not based on a single flower source but the local area and season make our approach quite different.

People who try Sweetree honey often comment how it tastes like the honey they used to have when they were young.  It’s much more than just a sweetener.  Being in attractive glass jars with stylish labels it makes a great gift.

 
How is Sweetree Honey Processed?


Sweetree honey is extracted by cutting the wax cappings off each honey frame, they are then placed into a spinner, where the centrifugal force extracts the honey from the frames.  We then cream our honey, this is to ensure that your honey does not granulate (look sugary) and it maintains a consistent texture.  During this process the only thing that is added is a fine grained natural honey, this is used like a starter to start the creaming process.  The honey is then stirred and left to cream over a few days.  We manually pack the honey into re-usable glass jars.

Our honey is not pasteurized.  You can be confident that Sweetree Honey has not been damaged by heating or finely filtered.  It still retains the enzymes, antibacterial qualities and high pollen counts naturally occurring in the honey.  Samples of Sweetree honey tested have a HMF level of <4mg/kg, indicating very low levels of heating and very fresh honey!  Fresh extracted honey is usually below 10mg/kg, higher levels such as 40mg/kg indicate excessive heating.  Find out more about HMF

 
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

Good Neighbour Degustation Dinner

Written by Stephanie on September 25th, 2015.      0 comments

Last night we shouted my parents out for dinner to thank them for all the things they do to help us out.  They help us pack honey, paint bee boxes, harvest honey, etc.  We would be lost without them! 

Anyway, we went to our local, Good Neighbour, for a 5 course degustation dinner matched with Good George Beer and Mills Reef Wine.  A beer and a wine were paired with each course and we had to rate whether the beer (grain) or wine (grape) matched best with the food.  For each course the brewer and wine maker got up to talk about the food and how their product would match it.  It was very entertaining to say the least!  It was a lot of fun!  The wine only just won!

I was so busy enjoying the delicious food that I didn't get any photos!  Apart from the menu below.  I highly recommend the food at Good Neighbour the chefs Matt, Alice and the team did a fantastic job!  Do check out the beers and wines on the menu, there were some very yummy flavours coming through!

Featured in the meal was our Kirikiriroa honey along with Meyer Cheese.  As you see below it was a smoked Cambridge duck, Meyer Gouda gougere, Sweetree Honey glaze, chilli lollipop, walnut, smoke aroma.  It was so yummy!

You can read about Good George Beer, Sweetree honey and Meyer Cheese pairing here.

Grain-vs-grape-1     grain-vs-grape-2-582
Topics: , About Sweetree
 
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What do our customers say?

"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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