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.

Plastic Beehives!

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

Plastic beehiveI recently wrote about beekeepers using plastic frames for honey storage in beehives.  We avoid using these as we are concerned from a bee health point of view but also environmentally.  But it's not just the frames that are available in plastic, you can now buy full plastic beehives.  When the hive is at the end of its life what will happen to it?  I find it pretty concerning when there are so many people trying to avoid plastic use that industries are just coming up with more plastic ware!  Shouldn't manufacturers be coming up with smarter, more environmentally friendly options? Do they not care about the future of our planet?

It's not just at the end of the beehives life I'm concerned about.  If a beekeeper has American foulbrood (AFB) in their hive, the hive has to be burnt to eradicate it.  AFB is a disease of honey bee larvae and pupae. It wipes out an infected hive and is spread to other hives by the movement of contaminated hives and equipment, it's highly contagious.  It is pretty upsetting when you have to burn a hive but I think it would feel pretty bad watching the plastic burn.  Can you imagine what that does to the environment if beekeepers are burning plastic beehives and frames? I would love to see plastic beehives banned.  Just my personal opinion.

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic residue

Topics: Plastic Free

What is the White Film on Beeswax Products?

Written by Stephanie on September 14th, 2017.      0 comments

Bloom-523-718Have you ever noticed a white film over beeswax products?  It's called a 'boom'.  It develops over time due to cold air crystallizing the beeswax oils. It disappears when the wax is put into the sun for a very short time.  If it is a sunny but cold day then wait until the air gets warmer to use the heat of the sun rays or carefully warm with a hairdryer, fan heater, etc. They will then be completely back to normal! 

Check out our beeswax products

Topics: , Products

Sustainable Me Challenge - September

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

This month's 'Sustainable Me' challenge is to reduce the harsh chemical cleaners in our homes with natural alternatives.

It's the time of year we give our houses a spring clean from top to bottom.  It's a good opportunity to use more natural cleaners that are better for our houses, our families and the aquatic life that are exposed to it once it's washed down the drain.  There are lots of natural alternatives out there now and available in the supermarkets or you might like to try baking soda and white vinegar!

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: If you’re wary of baking ingredients as household cleaners, maybe the best way to begin is with commercially available eco-friendly cleaning products such as those available through the Earthwise or Ecostore brands.

Step it up: Start simple and find one or two cleaning product to change over. Baking soda as a scrub for your sinks, counters and tubs is a great way to begin.

Want more? Ditch your chemical cleaners and go all natural. There are lots of internet resources available for someone who wants chemical free cleaners – see the resources section below for suggestions of where to begin.
Every little bit (or drop) helps!

See the OSOF website to read more tips

Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental

September is Bee Aware Month

Written by Stephanie on September 1st, 2017.      0 comments

Bee Aware Month Logo-291This month is 'Bee Aware Month' in New Zealand the focus is on how important bees are for pollinating food and other products we consume.  

Why are Bees So Important?

Imagine the world without strawberries, kiwifruit, apples, nuts, chocolate or even denim jeans! These are all foods and products pollinated by bees!  Without bees, a huge 2/3 of our food would disappear.  

Bees around the world and especially in NZ cannot survive without our help, and in turn, we wouldn't survive without them.  Albert Einstein said, “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live".  So not only do bees produce a wonderful, natural food source, they also play a significant role in supporting our food chain.


How Can Everyone Help?

  • One of the easiest things we can do is to plant bee-friendly gardens both in urban and rural areas.  Bees need food so they can help pollinate our food.  Bees will forage on these flowers for nectar and pollen which provide carbohydrates and protein for growth and energy.  Well-nourished bees are more capable of fending off disease and parasites.
You can purchase wildflower seeds here that are proven bee favourites.

Topics: , Bee Facts

Plastic Avoided In The Production of Sweetree Honey

Written by Stephanie on August 23rd, 2017.      0 comments

Many people, including Martin and I, like to limit the purchase of food in plastic packaging.  People do this for various reasons but mainly for environmental or health motivations.  One way of limiting plastic is to purchase food in glass jars instead of plastic.  When we were deciding how to package our honey it had to be glass.  It is so much healthier, attractive and environmentally friendly.

But have you thought about how honey is stored before it goes into the jar?  In the beehive honey used to always be stored on beeswax comb foundation which was wired into a wooden frame.  But what is most commonly used now is plastic frames with plastic sheets embossed with hexagon indentations for the bees to work with as a foundation. The other common one is a wooden framing with a plastic insert foundation.  Here are some photos of what they look like.

plastic-foundation       Plastic-frame

The thing that concerns us about these is the possibility of plastic residue getting into the honey, the bees health working from a plastic foundation, let alone the environmental issue of what to do with the plastic frames and foundations when they are broken or past their best.  We was concerned to see all these plastic beehives (the whole hive in plastic) for sale at a beekeeping conference we recently attended.  That's a lot of plastic!  What will happen to them when they are finished with?  I guess they will end up in the landfill!

Sweetree's policy is to use wooden hive gear and frames with beeswax foundations wherever possible for our honey collection.
Beehive frame with beeswax foundation

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic residue

Topics: , About Sweetree , Plastic Free

What's The White Stuff On The Inside Of My Honey Jar?

Written by Stephanie on August 19th, 2017.      0 comments

IMG 2283-795
You may have noticed that many of the Kirikiriroa and Horsham Downs jars, of the current batches, have white marking around the inside of the jar, you may think it looks like mould.  Don't worry, it's not!  This is called frosting.  It is due to the presence of air trapped between the side of the jar and the honey, and therefore crystals form against the glass.  Frosting in honey usually starts as a small white streak or crescent on the edge of the jar and can gradually spread over time, sometimes it covers most or all of the inner surface of the jar.  

You may be put off by the look of the honey but don't worry once you open it you will generally find it just up against the jar and it definitely does not affect its taste!  The next batch should be all fine again.

Purchase Sweetree honey


Sweetree Honey in Good George Stout

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

Duck Island Stout-804Local beer brewing company, Good George, have collaborated with local Duck Island Ice Cream company to craft their 'Blackberry, Sage & Honey Cream Stout'.  But Duck Island isn't the only local ingredient used, Sweetree Kirikiriroa (Hamilton City) honey is also included! We're pretty excited about it!

It's beer inspired by a popular ice cream and there will be an ice cream available infused with the beer!

It is smooth, rich and roasty with a hint of sage and lingering berry flavour.  One review said '440ml can Dark red pour with creamy head. Roasted malt aroma with slight chocolate and berry notes. Mild bitterness. Roasted malt taste with mixed herb/sage follow-through. Also slight chocolate note and smooth finish. Don’t get any berry or honey notes.'
Duck Island Good George Kirikiriroa stout-510-625

It's available in 440ml and available at:

On tap – Good Union, Good George - Dining Hall, Good Neighbour, BEERNZ Limited, Malthouse, The Rogue & Vagabond, Hide - Thirst and Hunger, The Hop Garden.

In Cans – Roslyn Fresh Choice, Liquorland Forrest Hill, Good George Dining Hall, Good Neighbour, Beer NZ, Little George, Eastside Liquorland, Okere Falls Store, The Old Stone Butter Factory, Liquorland Upper Hutt, New World Porirua, Raglan Liquor Centre, Glenview New World, Super liquor Hillcrest, Farro Fresh Epsom, Liquorland Mount Maunganui, Liquorland Waterloo, Mount Wine Barrel, Fresh Choice Richmond, Super Liquor Greerton, Fresh Choice Parklands, The Hamilton Beer & Wine Co., liquorland centre Glenview, Super Liquor Richmond, Raglan Super Value.

Purchase Sweetree honey


Alleviate Seasonal Allergies

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

sneezeSpring is just around the corner or maybe it's already here!  I was at the pharmacy the other day and the pharmacist thinks that allergies have started already and by looking at the pollen starting to be collected in the hives I think she's right.

Seasonal allergies can be a nightmare - sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat, coughing, itchy nose, blocked/runny nose or worse.  During this time many people stock up on tissues and run to the chemist to grab antihistamine, sometimes even antihistamine isn't enough.  It's no fun at all!

In spring hay fever can be triggered by tree and grass pollen.  There are two types of flower pollen. One is very light and is easily airborne, this light pollen causes allergies. The second pollen is heavier, it is collected by bees and made into bee pollen.

Did you know that research indicates that if you take small amounts of bee pollen from your local area a few months before the hay fever season your body may become desensitised to the air borne pollens?  It works like a vaccination does against childhood diseases. Desensitisation is based on the idea that the taking of the bee pollen will cause the body to produce antibodies that will cancel out the effects of the air born pollen when the person is exposed to it again.  See below this blog for more details on research in the area.

Many of our customers have commented that their allergies have lessened when either taking Sweetree Bee Pollen or Honey.  Our honey is not finely filtered and therefore retain a high pollen count.  So to help with your hay fever symptoms try either taking bee pollen every day or raw honey from your local area. Sweetree produces bee pollen in the Horsham Downs area and honey from Hamilton City, Horsham Downs, Ngaurwahia and Marokopa (King Country) areas.

If you feel you need something more to protect you against allergies see a health professional.  You may want to see your doctor, pharmacy, herbalist, Chinese medicine therapist, Naturopath, etc. 

Breathe easy this spring!

Read more about bee pollen and check out the Research on its benefits 

Purchase Sweetree bee pollen

Topics: , Health Articles , Products

Sustainable Me Challenge - August

Written by Stephanie on August 2nd, 2017.      0 comments

This month's 'Sustainable Me' challenge is to reduce our water use. 

You would think in clean, green New Zealand that we wouldn't need to worry about this but our fresh water resources are becoming more and more under pressure.  OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) says that p
ollution from agriculture, runoff from increasing urbanization and antiquated sewer systems has created un-swimmable rivers. And the looming uncertainties of climate change bring further concern for this vital resource.

The average Auckland household uses 174 litres of water per day in winter and slightly more in summer, it's been broken down by:
31% showers and baths
24% laundry
19% toilets

With just a little bit of thought we can make a big difference to reducing our water use.  Reduce, Ruse and Recycle applies to water too!

Water Every drop counts badge-275

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: Find one or two basic water-reducing behaviours such as shorter showers, turning the tap off when brushing teeth and washing hands, etc.

Step it up: Find a bigger way to reduce your household water such as checking for plumbing leaks, installing low-flow taps and shower heads, etc.

Want more?  Get involved in a local advocacy group or join a group planting plants around water ways.  

Every little bit (or drop) helps!

See the OSOF website to read more tips

Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental

Plastic Free Life?

Written by Stephanie on July 31st, 2017.      0 comments

Did anyone try the 'Plastic Free July' Challenge?  How did you go?  It can be hard to get your head around to start with but as time goes on it does get easier.  The trick it to keep it going beyond July and use those new strategies in our every day life.  The less plastic we use the better off our world will be!


Remember instead of using these:

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

Try to use these instead:

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

Check out eco-friendly products on our website

Topics: , Enviromental

Local Feast!

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

locavore long lunch-309A couple of Sundays ago we were very happy to be a part of Dough Bros Locavore Long Lunch.  The team at Dough Bros wanted to celebrate their favourite local suppliers and the impressive bounty of food produced here in the Waikato. Over a leisurely four-course lunch foodies were able to rub shoulders with some of the growers and artisan makers that are putting the Waikato on the map as a food destination. 

On arrival we could choose between these cocktails, divine:
Cocktail-1 cocktail-2
Persimmon and lavender shrub with lemon, Sweetree Honey
syrup, soda and Reid Reid gin
Tamarillo and ginger shrub with lemon, Sweetree Honey
syrup, soda and Dancing Sands vodka

We enjoyed nibbles on arrival including Volare sour dough bread with Bellefield cultured butter, Whangape Grove olive oil and Peppers sweet and spicy dukkah.

The first course included Soggy Bottom's amazing smoked leg ham, Magills smoked port, garlic sausage and finocchio salami, pickled baby veggies from Southern Fresh, Peplers beetroot relish & whiskey mustard and Volare bread.  Mmm mmmm!

The second course was a salad of Magill's ham hock, mixed leaves and chioggia beetroot from Southern Fresh, whole grain mustard vinaigrette.
The third course was Magill's beef short rib carbonnade, celeriac puree with Sweetree Honey and franjelico glazed baby vegetables, Cilantro chèvre, sage grilled Southern Fresh baby leeks and fennel remoulade. 

The pud was amazing!  It was tiramisu bathed in Manuka Brothers wood-fired roasted coffee and enriched with mascarpone made locally by Cilantro, topped off with a yummy cheese board.

It was all so delicious!  And for someone who is always eating home meals cooked by me, it was a huge treat!

Huge thanks to the great team at Dough Bros for putting together a fantastic event!  We're looking forward to another one!


Here's a copy of the menu we enjoyed:

Dough Bros Locavore Long Lunch Menu-496

Purchase the Sweetree honey used in the menu


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

Purchase 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:

Check out our range ofeco-friendly products

Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free

Plastic Free July: Tip #3 - Plastic Free Shopping

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

Here are 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 veggies and not the ones prepackaged
  • Use your own cloth produce bags for fruit and vegies, 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 veggies and fruit
Plastic Wrapped veges and fruit-607           vege bags-599

See other blogs on this topic:

Check out our range of eco-friendly products

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

Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental

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