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


Beehive Update - December 2014

Written by Martin on December 6th, 2014.      1 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.
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!
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.
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!

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

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.
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.

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