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.

Herbs as Bee Food in Your Garden

Written by Brownyn Lowe on September 30th, 2016.      0 comments

Plant some herbs this summer to attract bees to your garden. With some pre planning and planting you are guaranteed to have bees buzzing in your garden patch all summer long.  Even when our herb garden was in it's first year of growth we had bees galore.  A bee keeper once told me that bees love blue flowers and I have found this to be true.

Some good plants to start with include:

Borage Borago officinalis, is a blue flowering annual herb that can be planted from seed or you can often buy plants, from your local herb supplier. Borage has abundant star shaped blue flowers that bloom throughout the summer and attracts many bees. Once you have a borage plant in your garden it will often seed itself and you will have new plants each year as soon as the soil warms up.
Thyme Thymus vulgaris, there are many different varieties of Thyme, all equally loved by the bees. Three good Thyme plants to have in your garden would be pizza thyme, (with its vigorous growth it can stand regular picking) Lemon thyme, (with its silver foliage makes a nice contrast and flavour to your dishes, It also has a pleasant lemon scent). And the common garden thyme which is the most widely-known and used.
Sage salvia officinalis, with its blue flowers, is a bee favourite. Easy to grow, there are two common sage plants that you may know. The green sage is the most commonly used for culinary purposes. Red sage is mainly used medicinally although it can also be used for culinary purposes, it also makes a lovely carpet-type cover in your garden.bee-on-rosemary
Rosemary rosmarinus officinalis, have you heard the old wives’ tale that if the rosemary plant is thriving in the front garden the woman of the house is the boss?  Maybe it just meant that the garden was well cared for, which in turn would lead to a healthy garden for the bees.  Rosemary is another blue flowering plant, easy to grow, just don’t over-water it. Make sure to pick often to prevent it getting too spindly. Pop some flowers into your salad for a taste sensation just leave some for the bees!
Catmint nepeta faassenii, is a pretty blue flowering plant that can be used as a ground cover and a companion plant. Ideal for planting around roses (which the bees also love).

Although we have concentrated on blue flowering plants, bees do like other flowers, last year in our garden they loved the echinacea flowers, we often saw them on the calendula and bergamot flowers. The pineapple sage with it’s bright red flowers was a favourite.
All these plants are common and readily available at your local garden centre or herb supplier.  Plant for the bees and have some fun in your garden this summer! As an added bonus the monarch butterflies seem to love these flowers as well.

This article was written by Bronwyn Lowe, Medical Herbalist, from the 'Herbal Dispensary' in Raglan.  At the Herbal Dispensary they are passionate about assisting you and your family achieve optimum health and vitality.  Their wonderful shop in Wallis Street is filled with wonderful natural products - you'll find all you need to support your health naturally. Their health clinic can provide you with a comprehensive, individualised natural health service including herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary, analysis testing, mineral assessment, etc. 

Check out their website here to find out more, purchase online, read articles and much more.

Where Would We Be Without Bees?

Written by Stephanie on September 9th, 2016.      0 comments

Some people may think bees are just a summertime nuisance. But these small and amazingly hard-working insects make it possible for many of our favorite foods to reach our tables. From apples to almonds to the blueberries in our blueberry pies, we have bees to thank.

Here is just some of the foods that we need to thank bees for:
  • Apples
  • Almonds
  • All Spice
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Brazil nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cacao
  • Coffee
  • Carrots
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Cauliflowers
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Citrus fruit
  • Coconut
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Egg plant
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Grapes (wine)
  • Kale
  • Kiwifruit
  • Leek
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Passionfruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Pumpkin
  • Rasberries
  • Strawberries
  • Sunflowers
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes
  • Tea
  • Watermelon

This is what our supermarkets would like like if we lost our bees!

Grocerys without beesPhoto from

Very sobering thought isn't it!  We need to protect this amazing insect that we rely on so much.  Find out what we can do to help our bees.

Bee Aware Month

Written by Stephanie on September 2nd, 2016.      0 comments

Bee Aware MonthSeptember is the month we dedicate to celebrating our New Zealand bees!  It's a great time to remind us all how important bees are to New Zealand's environment, biodiversity and economy.

Show Me the Honey

This year ApiCulture NZ has set the theme as 'Show Me the Honey'.  Over $5 billion of New Zealand agricultural exports depend on bees and bees pollinate about 1/3 of everything we eat!  Honey is a wonderful natural healer with multiple uses.  There are some many different types, flavours, textures and aromas.  NZ produces approximately 7,440 tonnes of honey each year (and increasing every season), with about half of this being exported.  And of course our special manuka honey is some of the highest valued honey in the world!  NZ honey is something to be celebrated!

Bee Populations in NZ

The great news is that, according to ApiCulture NZ, New Zealand's bee population has increased substantially over the last few years, with more hobby beekeepers and small & large beekeeping business coming into the arena.  NZ is nearing 700,000 beehives (up from 300,000 15 years ago) and there are close to 7,000 beekeepers in NZ and that number is growing.  

This is fantastic news but we can't sit back and expect this to continue, there are signs that the varroa mite is becoming resistant to treatments and with such a high demand for honey, like manuka, there is a risk of bees health declining if bees are not taken care of properly. 

Bee Health

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. 

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 or check out our list of plants to grow.

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 our 'Helping NZ Bees' article on other ideas.

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