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.


Honey for Allergies

Written by Stephanie on April 25th, 2018.      0 comments

MSprg-2-spoonWe have many customers that find buying the Sweetree honey variety produced closest to their home beneficial for reducing hay fever symptoms. If you are one of these customers you may find that your normal honey variety is unavailable (due to a very poor honey harvest this season). I would recommend that you try one of our other honeys we have in stock, even if it is a long way from your home. Our honeys are not finely filtered, therefore still retaining a high pollen count, which will help with hay fever. Give it a try and let us know how you get on.

Another option is to take small amounts of bee pollen each day (especially leading up to spring), this can also help descensitize your body against hay fever.
Topics: Products
 

A Poor Honey Harvest

Written by Stephanie on April 18th, 2018.      0 comments

You may have heard that honey harvests were poor this season. It is fair to say we had a pretty shocking season. We have harvested about two thirds less honey that we would normally harvest. The Waikato was hit the hardest. Apiary sites that we would typically harvest about 50 boxes of honey from, we harvested just 2-4 boxes. So I'm afraid to say we will not have these honeys available this year - Horsham Downs, Four Brothers, Hakarimata (apart from the batch from last season we still have in stock) and Kirikiriroa.

The good news is that it was a reasonable season at Marokopa so we have Marokopa Spring and Marokopa Manuka and will shortly have Marokopa Summer available. The Marokopa Summer and Marokopa Manuka honeys didn't come easy as there was a freak weather event in Marokopa that swept a huge amout of water through the valley and there were several slips on the sheep station we have our hives on. A lot of the farm tracks collapsed so it made it very tricky getting the honey out, but we did it!

 

Why Such A Bad Season?


The variable weather at the end of last year and early this year have interrupted the honey flow, and added to this was the severe weather patterns (storms, cyclones,) and then extreme heat. Bees can't fly in strong winds or rain so during those times the bees stay in the hive, therefore reducing their nectar collecting time. The severe weather can strip flowers from trees/plants leaving less flowers for the bees to forage on as well.

The very wet spring appears to have affected clover flowering and nectar production. Even though you may have seen clover flowers this summer, little nectar was produced. Very hot weather can burn summer crops and honey flow virtually stops. The bees end up gathering water, instead of nectar, to try and cool down the hives.

Despite the challenges the bees have come out of the season very healthy and strong, they just haven’t been able to collect a surplus this year. With the season officially over, some of our bees have been treated to a late nectar flow which will keep them going over the winter quite nicely.

 
Marokopa-Slip-804





Marokopa-Track-103
Marokopa-Trolly-15
One of the many slips in Marokopa The track had collapsed in many areas Walking up to check the hives and move by trolly if needed.


    
Topics: , About Sweetree, Products
 

We've Got Ethique Face, Body and Hair Bars!

Written by Stephanie on March 31st, 2018.      0 comments

You may have guessed that at Sweetree we are passionate about taking care of our environment, our focus at the moment is reducing plastic and waste.  We're so excited to be stocking Ethique beauty bars, we LOVE everything Ethique stands for and their products! Zero plastic packaging, palm oil free, petrochemical free, paraben free, sustainably produced, 100% vegan & cruelty-free beauty bars full of natural goodness.

They produce face, hair and body solid bars which last between three to six times longer (depending on the product) than bottled products; because they’re super-concentrated.  NZ Ethique customers have already saved the Earth from 280,000 plastic bottles, how good is that!

Join us in the revolution and give up the bottle!  #giveupthebottle
 

Purchase Ethique solid bars now.

 
Ethique Group Blog-442
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Check Out Our Plastic Free Reusable Bags!

Written by Stephanie on March 22nd, 2018.      0 comments

Most single-use plastic bags are only used for about 12 minutes but could take a century to break down, let alone the environmental effects of production and distribution! There is more to the simple plastic bag than meets the eye, please read more in this article.

New Zealanders use on average 700 million plastic supermarket bags per year, not including other single plastic bags! We really need to, at least, substantially reduce this but ideally eliminate single use plastic bags all together. The best way to do this is to use reusable shopping bags. 

The trick is to always have reusable bags in all your car/s and in your handbag and when you’ve unloaded your shopping put it straight back into your bag or by the door to put back in your car when you next go out.
 

We have a selection of wonderful resuable shopping bags!


Reusable Fresh Produce Bags - Multi Pack:
This multi pack includes 2 x large and 1 x small bags.  Conveniently available in two handy sizes to use and reuse when shopping for fruit and vegetables.  These bags are made from sustainably produced, Certified Organic, unbleached Indian cotton - 100% biodegradable.

Reusable Bulk Bin Bags - Multi Pack:
This multi pack includes 3 x Bulk Bin Bags & 108 blank stickers for product codes.  These bulk bin bags when shopping for loose bulk bin items such as pasta, legumes, lentils, and seeds.  These bags are made from premium, sustainably produced, certified organic, unbleached Indian cotton - 100% biodegradable.

Stylish EnviroSax Reuable Bags:
These reusable bags are the perfect shopping companion; they fold up nice and small in your handbag, glove box or even your pocket. They are strong, durable, lightweight and stylish!  These bags are so versatile, they can be used for grocery shopping, for a day trip, as swimming bag, use anywhere you would normally use a plastic bag. They have a waterproof coating that makes them suitable for wet items.  They are large enough to hold two plastic grocery bags and can hold up to 20kg. Plus the wide straps made them comfortable to hold in your hand or over your shoulder!! The perfect companion in your everyday life!



Photo Montage

Check out all the reusalble bags here!

 
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Sweetree are Selling Reusable Straws!

Written by Stephanie on March 14th, 2018.      0 comments

New Zealanders throw away 541 million straws each year and they are the most common items collected during beach clean-ups. A straw, that we use only once, can take 200 years to break down into tiny toxic particles that affect our precious oceans and sealife. You may have seen the YouTube clip of the poor turtle with a straw stuck up it’s nostril, it’s not nice!

The great news is that if you like using straws you don’t have to give them up! Just swap from plastic to stainless steel! These straws are incredibly durable, completely dishwasher/sterliser safe and can be used over and over.

We're excited to offer you the following straws:

Reusable Smoothie Straw Packs:
The reusable smoothie straws are used with thick drinks.  They are made wide, the diameter of the straw is 0.95cm, so it's the perfect size for your morning smoothie. 

Reusable Drinking Straw Packs:
The reusable drinking straws are great if you like drinking 'thin' liquids through a straw such as water, juices or lemon water.

Each pack comes with four stainless steel straws and one straw cleaner brush, but in case you want more brushes we also offer:

Cleaner Brush Pack:
Make cleaning your reusable metal straws even easier with these specialised straw cleaner brushes. Two brushes per pack.  Natural fibre, completely plastic-free, cleaning brush pack.  One size fits all.  Also useful for other little places like coffee machines and drink bottle!  More sustainable with compostable natural fibre bristles and highly recyclable stainless steel handle. 


CaliWoods Styled-324-16-695  CaliWoods Styled Smoothie -374-887

Purchase reusable stainless steel straws
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Introducing a new Eco Dental Care Range!

Written by Stephanie on March 11th, 2018.      0 comments

Here at Sweetree Honey we are passionate about cutting back on plastic use, looking after our environment and minimising waste. We are in the process of adding a whole lot of new plastic free and environmental friendly products to our offering.  We are really excited to introduce you to our first range - eco dental care!

The new dental care range is brought to us by Nelson dentists who are passionate about reducing wastage in the dental industry.  It was essential that they sourced good products, products that were good for the user, while being better for the environment.   For every toothbrush sold one is given to a New Zealand child who doesn't have one. 


Eco Dental Care Offers:

Ecofloss - Bamboo Charcoal Dental Floss:  
This dental floss is 30m of candelilla waxed bamboo charcoal floss with natural mint flavour.  Stunning and possibly the most fabulous dental floss we have ever used.  This is a degradable bamboo charcoal floss with polyester base.  By degradable we mean it will break down faster that normal plastic materials but does this by breaking down into smaller parts.  It is slightly thicker which help remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth.  It may take a little getting used to being thicker, but it works wonders.

Ecofloss - Silk Dental Floss:  
Pure silk floss.  A little finer than the bamboo charcoal floss so easier to use if you have quite tight gaps between your teeth.

We love that not only is the floss biodegradable but that all floss comes in a recycled and recyclable glass bottle.  But even better is the bottle is reusable, just pop in a refill and it is good to go again.


Ecobrush - Painted Bamboo Toothbrushes (soft and medium):  

These toothbrushes are biodegradable, sustainable and beautiful.  The bamboo is organic and a renewable resource.  It will biodegrade completely, simply cut off the bristles and dispose of the handle in your compost, garden or general waste.  The painted handles make it easy to see whose is whose!

We love that for every brush bought one will be donated to a child in New Zealand that has no toothbrush!

Dental Floss Carcoal

Check out the eco dental care range today!
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free
 

New Season Honey Extraction

Written by Stephanie on February 14th, 2018.      0 comments

The extraction of our first honey harvest for the season has started!  Have you ever wondered how honey gets from the hive into a liquid form?

The boxes of honey come in from the hives and the wax cappings are cut off the outside of each frame to allow the honey to flow out.  Manuka honey frames are need to be pricked because the honey is a lot thicker and jelly like, therefore harder to flow out of the cells without a little help.  The frames go into a spinner and all the honey is spun out and then coarsely filtered.  The beeswax is separated and the honey is then drummed off ready to be packed into jars.

frames
Marokopa Spring honey frames wanting for extraction

spinner
Honey frames in extractor ready to be spun

Fast-spin
Honey frames having honey spun out of them
Topics: , Bee Facts , Products
 

Honey Harvest has started!

Written by Stephanie on February 4th, 2018.      0 comments

It's that time of year again - honey harvesting!  If you didn't already know honey collection is seasonal.  Bees start to collect honey in spring time and then through to the end of summer.  We harvest Ohui honey first (around mid Jan) then not long after that Marokopa Spring (late Jan, early Feb). The other honeys are harvested later in March.  

 We've just spent this weekend harvesting Marokopa Spring honey.  The season hasn't great but we've harvested a bit more Marokopa Spring than we did last year so that's good.  Both Ohui and Marokopa Spring honeys will now be extracted and we'll be packing Marokopa Spring first, so it should be available for sale by early March.
 
Spring-Harvest-Busy-Bees              Spring-Harvest-Martin-with-frame 
Both the bees and Martin are working hard in the heat of summer
 
Spring-Harvest-frame-1
Frames of honey  



Spring-Harvest-Trailer-with-boxes
Boxes of Marokopa Spring off for extraction
Topics: , Bee Facts , Products
 

Sweetree Online Store Closed until 3rd January

Written by on December 16th, 2017.      0 comments

Our online store is now closed until 3rd January.  Any orders received after the 14th Dec will be sent on the 3rd of January, sorry for any inconvenience.  

Remember you can purchase from one of our stockists, at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Sunday the 17th Dec and at The Farm Shop in Gordonton Village.

Merry-Christmas
 

Don't Worry if You've Missed Ordering Online Before Christmas!

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

We have snuck away for a little break before Christmas, as we'll be busy beekeeping over the holidays.  We will not be sending any orders from 14th December until 3rd Jan.  But don't worry you can still purchase our honeys at your local stockist and Harald will be at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Sunday 17th December!  We will also have our full range of honey, pollen, gift boxes, HoneyWraps and seeds at the Farm Shop in Gordonton Village.  Here are their hours up until Christmas:


The Farm Shop, 1060 Gordonton Road, Gordonton Village Hours:


Christmas DecorationWed 13th Dec   10am to 6pm
Thur 14th Dec   10am to 6pm
Fri    15th Dec   10am to 5pm
Sat 16th Dec     9am to 5pm
Sun 17th Dec   10am to 5pm
Mon 18th Dec   10am to 5pm
Tues 19th Dec   10am to 5pm
Wed 20th Dec   10am to 6pm
Thur 21st Dec   10am to 6pm
Fri 22nd Dec   10am to 5pm
Sat 23rd Dec     9am to 5pm
Xmas Eve (24th)  10am to .........

As you can see they will be running 12 days straight to the build up to Christmas Eve!  Thanks team!
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

Remedies for Bee Stings

Written by Stephanie on December 10th, 2017.      0 comments




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.
  • distraction for a child can work a treat
 
Some information for this blog was research from www.en.wikipedia.org and www.wisegeek.com

Read 'Why Do Bees Sting'

 
Topics: , Health Articles
 

Sustainable Me Challenge - December

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

You might have guessed but this month's 'Sustainable Me Challenge' is a waste free holiday.  Can you believe the average household waste increases by 25% over the Christmas holiday period! Here's some ideas for reducing our gift-giving footprint this Christmas:

  • Furoshiki-586Buy second hand.  Our son wanted an expensive lego kit this year, so instead of spending mega bucks we've bought him a 2nd hand kit that looks as good and new for half the price.
  • Use alternative wrapping.  Fabric is great because it can be used over and over, not like paper that usually gets used once and thrown out.  Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping with cloth, check out some great ideas, I'm definitely keen on trying this!
  • Don't buy over packaged products.  It really bugs me how over packaged toys and other items are these days.  It pays to think about the waste the gift may create and reduce where you can.
  • Make it yourself.   If you've got a little bit of spare time it's worth making something from the heart. Check out some ideas online, we've got some recipes for lip balm, perfume, etc.
  • Give experiences.   These are great, we do this with our parents now. It can be as simple as a movie ticket, theatre performance, concert or sporting event.  How about a voucher to go fishing, tramping, a picnic or even a service you could provide like to clean someones house!
  • Give consumables.  Everyone has to eat so give food, maybe something they wouldn't normally buy for themselves or you could bake them something special.
  • Give the gift of charity.  Make a donation to a charity in the name of your gift recipient, one that they would be happy with.
  • Ask before you buy.  It's important we buy something the person would like or will use, it's a shame when they just sit in a cupboard unused or thrown out because it was the wrong gift for them.


See the OSOF website to read more tips


Read more about:

Topics: , Enviromental
 

Orders Close 13th December!

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

We'll be busy beekeeping while everyone else is at the beach, over the holiday period, so we're sneaking away for a little break before Christmas.  Last orders for the year will be the 13th December, don't be disappointed and leave it too late!  

Christmas Orders Close off-498
 

Why Do Bees Sting?

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

bee sting
Have 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 handled 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 on 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
 

Christmas Gift Buying Time!

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

Can you believe it's only six Fridays until Christmas! There are actually only five Fridays until our last courier delivery for the year!  So it's time to think about Christmas gifts.


Check out our gift range here!

 
Christmas Gifts Promo-89-462-757-44-717-209
 
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