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.


You Look After The Environment More Than You Know When Eating Sweetree Honey!

Written by Stephanie on December 21st, 2018.      0 comments

Thanks to everyone that ate Sweetree honey this year, you stopped 10,000 plastic pottles going into the landfill this year alone by eating your honey out of glass jars instead of plastic ones!  Your old glass jars are now being re-used or recycled which is fantastic!  

But believe it not you have done more than that!  Did you know that most beekeepers have plastic hiveware, such as plastic honey frames, in their hives??  What happens to this hiveware at the end of it's life?  It goes in the landfill!  Let alone what plastic residue is going into the honey and beeswax (it's gets pretty hot in a beehive on a hot summers day)!  
 
Sweetree Spring Harvest frame 1-390made a decision right from the start to avoid plastic for our honey, not just the end product but all the way through the process.  It's so important for our customers health, the bees health and the health of our planet!

The plastic frames are so popular with beekeepers now many of the major suppliers don't even promote or sell the wooden frames any more.  It does cost us a lot more to have the old fashioned wooden frames but it's worth it!  

It does concern me that there are millions of plastic frames out there that will end up in the landfill so when talking to beekeepers try and get them to go back to the good old wooden frames!  We all need to start caring about this issue!

Thanks for supporting us and our planet!
 

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic

Topics: Enviromental
 

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

Written by Stephanie on December 14th, 2018.      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 midday 14th December until 3rd Jan.  But don't worry you can still purchase our honeys at your local stockist and Martin will be at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Sunday 16th December!  We will also have our full range of honey, pollen, gift boxes, HoneyWraps and bee friendly seeds at the Farm Shop in Gordonton Village.  Here are their hours up until Christmas:


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

Wed 12th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Thur 13th Dec   10am to 5.30pmChristmas Decoration
Fri    14th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Sat 15th Dec     9am to 4pm
Sun 16th Dec   10am to 3pm
Mon 17th Dec   10am to 5pm
Tues 18th Dec   10am to 5pm
Wed 19th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Thur 20th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Fri 21st Dec       10am to 5.30pm
Sat 22nd Dec    9am to 5pm
Sun 23rd Dec   10am to 5pm
Xmas Eve (24th)  9am to .........

As you can see they will be running 13 days straight to the build up to Christmas Eve!  Thanks team!


 
 

Buzzy Time of Year!

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

This is one of our busiest times of the year, getting the hives all sorted for the new season ahead.  Making sure they are healthy and strong, moving them to where they need to be to collect that delicious honey and making sure they have plenty of supers (honey collecting boxes) to store the honey.  We've had to move a lot of hives this season to re-arrange apiary locations, which has added a lot more work than usual.  Since Martin works full-time during the week, on his normal job, his weekends are rather busy, it's not uncommon for him to get home 11pm or later and back out at 5am the next morning.  Thank goodness one our our son's has finished school for the year so is Martin's right hand man at the moment!  They are enjoying the special father and son time travelling to and from apiary sites.

 
These hives are heading out to our Hakarimata and Kirikiriroa sites.
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

About Sweetree Bee Pollen

Written by Stephanie on November 13th, 2018.      0 comments

Bee-Pollen-582-504-764-329Sweetree Bee Pollen is collected from our home apiary site at rural Horsham Downs, near Hamilton.  With abundant nearby flora, Sweetree honey bees gather pollen from a wide range of flowering plants, reflected in the many different colours of pollen.  These colours indicate a highly nutritious bee pollen and we have received many favourable comments from our customers regarding its effectiveness.  We ensure that our bee pollen is kept as fresh as possible, storing no longer than the previous season.


The pollen is collected from the hive and dried in a purpose built drying room at temperatures no higher than would naturally occur in the beehive on a hot summers day, thereby still retaining its natural nutritious properties.

The flavour of the bee pollen will depend on the floral source and each granule has a different flavour.  You will receive a mouthful of many flavours including  sweet, tarty and earthy.  You may find that the colour and taste of each bag of pollen changes as the floral sources vary throughout the season.  For example early seasonal pollen may have more of a tarty flavour and not quite so many of the different coloured pollens.  Having said that, as the season progresses we try to mix the different coloured pollens into the bags so you are getting the best nutrients you can.

 

Benefits of Bee Pollen


Bee pollen is an incredible natural source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Studies have shown that it has a nutritional composition that surpasses that of virtually any food eaten.  Regular consumption of bee pollen aids your general health and well-being.  Just some of the benefits reported of our Sweetree Bee Pollen are: Sustained energy, enhanced immunity, reduced stress, relief of inflammation, more rested sleep and better skin condition.

Studies have also shown that taking bee pollen improves prostate conditions, reduces harmful effects of x-rays and results in fewer side effects from radiation treatment.

Bee pollen is often used by athletes to improve strength, endurance, energy and speed.  It is said to help muscles recover more quickly from exercise and to increase mental stamina. Many great athletes have enjoyed its benefits and find it enhances their performance and decreases downtime due to illness.
 

How to Eat Sweetree Bee Pollen


Bee pollen is often thought of as a dietary supplement but is much more than that.  It is one of nature’s best super foods.  We recommend you start with a 1/4 teaspoon per day and work your way up to up to a dessertspoon per day (or more if you need it!).  Bee pollen can be added to food, many of our customers sprinkle it on their cereal in the morning.  Some add it to yoghurt, smoothies or ice-cream.
 

Try these ideas:

  • Add bee pollen to a dish of ice cream and hot chocolate sauce
  • Place bee pollen onto a piece of tin foil then take a peeled banana and roll it into the bee pollen and toasted coconut.
  • Add a tablespoon of bee pollen to beef casseroles or beef stir-fries
  • Add bee pollen to salsa, home-made salad dressing and sandwiches
  • Can be sprinkled on your favourite cereal, fruit or yoghurt to provide a tasty and nutritious supplement to your diet
  • You can also spread it on toast with honey.
  • Mix bee pollen, chai seeds and cinnamon together with mashed banana and yoghurt (any flavour) and spread on raisin toast.  Very yummy breakfast.
  • If you are not that fussed on the flavour you can simply take it in a spoon and chase with water or juice.


Purchase Sweetree Bee Pollen in Glasss Jar

 

Purchase Sweetree Bee Pollen in Plastic Pouch

Topics: , Products
 

Drone Bee

Written by Stephanie on October 28th, 2018.      0 comments

The Drone Bees

Drones are the only male bees in the hive, their role is to mate with the queen.  They seem to have no duties in the hive and do not forage. They do not have pollen baskets, wax glands or stingers, so therefore can not sting.  

Once sexually mature, around 12 days old, they fly out of the hive looking for queen bees and will either mate with their queen or another queen from another hive.  Once mating is complete the drone will, as the penis is torn from his body after he falls away from the queen.  Any drones that do not mate live for a few weeks but if conditions get tough and food storage starts to dwindle the drones are kicked out of the hive, as they have no purpose once the queen has been mated and are just taking up space and resources.
 
Types of Bees (from Britannica
Types of bees from www.britannica.com
Topics: , Bee Facts , Bee Friendlyee Facts
 

Worker Bees

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

The Worker Bees

The worker bees are all females and they are called worker bees for a reason, they are hardest worker creature I can think of!  The worker bees carry out all the jobs in a hive, except laying eggs.  The job they are allocated will depend on their age.  There are so many jobs to be done including carrying away waste, cleaning out cells and preparing them for new eggs, feeding larvae, tending to and feeding the queen, building wax, guarding the entrance of the hive, collecting pollen and nectar, fanning honey to dry it, capping honey cells, etc.  

Worker bees generally live for 15-38 days in the summer, 30-60 days in the spring and longer in the winter.  There main job in the winter is to keep the queen alive and warm but clustering around her.  The colder the temperature the more compact the cluster becomes.  The worker bees create heat by shivering and they also move back and forth between the inner part of the cluster and the outer part.  In this way no bee will freeze in very cold climates. 

Here's a photo of our hard working worker bees on a frame of honey.

worker-bees


 
Types of Bees (from Britannica
Types of bees from www.britannica.com
Topics: , Bee Facts , Bee Friendlyee Facts
 

Queen Bee

Written by Stephanie on October 20th, 2018.      0 comments

The Queen

The queen is fascinating!  As a growing larvae she is feed exclusively royal jelly.  Royal jelly, with it's special proteins, is responsible for giving the queen bee a long, long life plus an elegant and large body, which make her very fertile.

As a new queen her first job will be to fight and kill any other queens in the hive.  There could be an old, weak queen or one or two new queens hatched around the same time.  The worker bees create queen cells when the pheromone of their existing queen is getting low, therefore at the end of her life.  

The young queen will then take her virgin flight, mating with an average of 7-17 drone bees in mid air, she may take about 1-3 flights.  She will have enough sperm (about 5-6 million) stored in her sperm pouch to fertilise all the eggs she will spend the rest of her life laying.  She will not leave the hive again, unless she swarms, and will lay about 1500 eggs per day over her four to five year life.

The queen will determine how many worker and drone bees the hive needs. She will lay unfertilised eggs for drone bees and fertilised eggs for worker and queen bees.

Here's a photo of one of our queen bees, see how long her abdomen is compared to the worker bees?
 
queen-bee

 
 
Types of Bees (from Britannica
Types of bees from www.britannica.com
Topics: , Bee Facts , Bee Friendly Facts
 

Now You Can Have Your Tea and Sweeten It Too!

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

Many people love to sweeten their tea with honey so we've decided to sell tea, now you can have your tea and sweeten it too!  We've chosen loose tea because there is plastic in many teabags and there is less wastage with loose tea.  We love the T Leaf T brand of teas and have chosen the organic range because it's better for the bees and us!  


Here's a little bit more about T Leaf Teas


Fifteen years ago tea lovers John and Amanda Van Gorp noticed a gap in the market. People, including themselves, were just putting up with bad tea. The quality option wasn’t there.  Over several years John and Amanda traveled all over the world, visiting exotic tea gardens and creating relationships within the global tea trade to bring the world of tea back home to New Zealanders.  Fast forward to 2018, they have more than 160 teas and infusions packaged and hand blended at their HQ in Petone Wellington. 

They select their teas and infusions from around the world with strict quality requirements from their suppliers. T leaf T operates an audited HACCP based Food Safety Program registered with MPI as per current Food Laws. 

We are pleased that they now offer an increasing selection of BioGro Certified Organic teas. Having this range of organics certified gives tea lovers the assurance that from plant to cup the chain of custody maintains its organic integrity.  Keeping our bees and our bodies healthy!
 
TeaLeaf-Teas


Canisters

Not only is there great tea, but we also sell a beautiful range of tea canisters to store your loose tea in!  Blocking out light and moisture keeps your teas fresher, longer. Store your tea in style with this range of authentic Japanese Washi paper canisters. Handmade from the bark of the gampi tree; washi paper is water resistant and as resilient as cloth. With a fine selection of colour and design options and featuring an airtight insert to keep your tea fresher for longer; they are the perfect tea companion to complement any home decor.
japanese-tea-canister-canisters-airtight-storage-tins-inspiring-wholesale
 

Check out T Leaf Loose Tea and Canisters

Topics: , Products
 

Safix Dishwash Scrub Pads Help Those in Need

Written by Stephanie on October 2nd, 2018.      0 comments

Safix Indian WomenWe love to promote products that are ethical and environmentally friendly but even better when they also help those in need, like the eco toothbrushes.  We've recently come across another product that we now use everyday and love, Safix dishwash scrub pads.  Not only are they made from natural coconut fibre and easily remove residual impurities without damaging surfaces, they are also helping those in need.

The name Safix is derived from the Hindi word for 'clean'.  The scrubs have their roots in rural India where women use loose coconut fibre to clean their dishes.  These Safix scourers are made by women in rural India, and provide economic independence for over 200 women. With your support it may grow to provide ethical employment for many more.


More About the Dishwash Scrub Pads

Made from 100% coconut fibre bound together with a non-toxic adhesive, this Safix scrub pad easily removes residual impurities without damaging surfaces.  It comes from the earth and after use, it goes back to the earth - it is biodegradable and compostable.  Tough yet gentle and stays effective for several months.
 
The Safix scrub pads have the following advantages over the other scrub pads:

  • Made from 100% coconut fibres bound together with a non-toxic adhesive
  • Lasts four times longer than any scrubbers available in the market
  • Does not rust, splinter or degenerate on several uses
  • Safe and soft for hands and nails.
  • Easily removes baked on, burnt and stubborn greasy deposits from all types of utensils
  • Uses less detergent and scouring powder
  • This scrub pad is surface friendly and will not scratch delicate surfaces
  • Non-toxic. Odourless. No germs. No bacteria
  • Compostable.

Purchase Safix Dish Was Scrub Pads

 

Topics: , Products
 

Do Gooder Toothbrushes Gives Back

Written by Stephanie on September 23rd, 2018.      0 comments

Did you know that for every Do Gooder 'Eco Toothbrush' bought one is donated to a child in New Zealand that needs one?  Just some of the community groups that have received these toothbrushes are: Community Oral Health Services in Nelson, Mission to Zero, Women’s and Children’s Refuge Services & Community Dental Services in Bay of Plenty.

Recently students at Mt Richmond School, a special needs school in Otahuhu, happily received Eco Toothbrushes and had fun practising cleaning their teeth in class after lunch.  They were thrilled to learn that when they have finished using their brush they can put the handle in their compost bin and it will eventually turn back into soil!
Do Gooder Mt Richmond Special School Toothbrushes-688
 

This batch headed off to Whanake Youth and the Wicked Tooth Fairy, an amazing scheme run by volunteers to get kids to the dentist for their free dental care. These are youth who would otherwise not be able to get there themselves.  Sweetree just love these initiatives are keen to spread the world, hence we sell the Do Gooder Eco Toothbrushes on our website.
 
Do Gooder Toothbrushes donation-452


To those that have purchased an Eco Toothbrush thanks for supporting New Zealanders in need! 
 

Find Out More About the Eco Toothbrushes:


Here is Some Customer Feedback:

"I love the tooth brush I got from you.  It feels great in your hand, the bristles work well, and don’t seem to come loose like the other brand I have purchased.  In fact I am on a subscription for a monthly tooth brush, but still purchase one from you (this is my second one from you), as I think your ones are a better all-round brush.  I will be purchasing more in the future."
Lee-Ann, Tokoroa


 
Topics: , Products
 

Conservation Week 15 - 23 Sept

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

Conservation Week is run by Department of Coservation (DOC) to encourage people to get involved in nature and help to take care of it.  It’s a nationwide celebration of kiwis pitching in to help our native plants and animals.

This year conservation week is aiming to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis that New Zealand is facing with more than 4,000 of our species threatened or at risk, and what we can all do to help.  DOC says "The species at risk include those that people know, like the Māui dolphin, and those that aren’t well known including fungi, snails, insects, lizards and fish. All of these species are part of what makes New Zealand unique. When we lose a species, we lose part of ourselves".

Thousands of New Zealanders are already involved in conservation activities. DOC says "When we pull together we can make a big difference".

DOC and other conservation groups are organising events around the country, these provide opportunities to join in, get active and show your love for our nature. They also showcase our special species and the things  we can do help conserve them.


What Can We All Do?



 
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Bee Aware Month!

Written by Stephanie on September 1st, 2018.      0 comments

Wow can you believe it's September and 'Bee Aware Month' already!  Time to celebrate our New Zealand bees!  This year's focus is on bee health and how we can all help protect our NZ bee population.  The most important things we can all do are to provide food and water for them and to be very careful when spraying on our properties.  Here's some great tips to look after our bees this season:
 

Feed the Bees

Bees forage on flowers to collect nectar (a source of carbohydrates) and pollen ( a source of protein) to help them grow and provide them with energy for their busy work.  A well-nourished bee is more capable of fighting disease and parasites.

The easiest thing we can do to help the bees is to provide bee-friendly flowers in our gardens, no matter where we live.  Follow this link to get some ideas of what flowers to grow in your garden.

 

Providing Water for Bees


Just like us bees need water to survive.  Providing them witBee getting a drink-772h a source of fresh water, especially in summer when puddles are scarce, will be a huge benefit to them.  There are a few tricks to providing them water, it needs to be shallow and have something for them to sit on so they don't fall in.  Have a look at these great ideas!
 

Spray Safe and Consider the Bees

One of the biggest treats to bees is the use of insecticides in home gardens, farms, orchards and market gardens.  They are designed to kill good and bad insects, including bees so please avoid them if at all possible.  If you really need to use them please read these great tips first - 
We've got lots more information on sprays if you follow this link.



 
Topics: , Bee Friendly Facts
 

Sustainable Gift Giving

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

Now that I'm becoming more mindful of waste I'm more aware of how wasteful gift giving can be.  I'm sure you, like many of us, have been given gifts that never get used.  It seems such a waste!  


Gift Giving

It can often be a struggle to find the right gifts for people.  A lot of our friends are trying to declutter and reduce the amount of 'stuff' they have and I really don't want to add more impractical, wasteful things to their lives.  And parents usually have everything they want.  Now when buying gifts I think to myself "Will this add to the world's waste problem?  Will this be useful or loved?" I will often ask if there is anything they want or need, at least then I know it won't be wasted.  Here's some good tips I've come across:

 

Gift Wrapping

I cringe at the amount of wrapping paper that is used once and then thrown out, especially at kids parties and Christmas.  I've recently come across a much better option and everyone that has received a gift wrapped this way has loved it!  Every time I go past a second hand shop I buy some scarfs and use them for wrapping gifts. It's a Japanese form of gift wrapping - furoshiki.  You can just search on Tube You for furoshiki and the item you are wrapping and get some great ideas.  There is no paper and no sellotape used and the greatest thing is the recipient can reuse it for a gift that they give!  I love it!  Here are just a few of the gifts I've given wrapped in scarfs and my basket of scarfs all ready to go.  By the way you can use any material and ribbons you like.  The world is your oyster!

vScarf-Wrapping-1   Scarf-Basket

Topics: , Reducing Waste
 

Waste Free Travelling

Written by Stephanie on August 26th, 2018.      0 comments

I usually get a bit slack with reducing my wastage when I'm travelling.  How about you?  I've always carried my reusable water bottle in the car but that's as far as it went, until recently.  When travelling or eating out on the run it can be very hard to avoid single-use plastic.  But I've found a bit of prep and forward thought can really help reduce this sort of plastic wastage.  

I knew I needed to get my act together and get a little car kit together but I kept procrastinating.  My final breaking point was taking the boys for sushi in the food court during the school holidays and there were no other options but single use plastic, and we were eating in the food court.  I was pretty wild they didn't have other options (especially since we were eating in the food court).  And I was upset with myself for not being prepared and bringing something with me.  I started working on my kit that afternoon!  

So I finally now have a great kit in my car that includes: cups, reusable stainless straws, cutlery, fabric napkins, stainless steel containers with lids for our sushi, leftovers, etc. I went a bit fancy and picked up a flax kete from Go Eco for $16.  It's hand made by a local woman in Kawhia, you may have seen her on Seven Sharp a few weeks ago.  I love it, it makes it feel pretty special!  

I always have a reusable drink bottle in the front of my car and a JOCO coffee cup in my glovebox and I keep the kit in the boot of my car ready for when we need it.
 
Meals-on-the-go-kete


 

We love these 'meals on the go' products so much we now sell them:

Topics: , Products , Reducing Waste
 

Do We Need Plastic Bags To Line Our Bins?

Written by Stephanie on August 16th, 2018.      0 comments

We're rapt that the the NZ government has decided to ban plastic bags.  Of course some people might not be so happy, relying on plastic bags for many uses.  One use that is very popular is for lining our rubbish bins.  Can we do without them for this purpose?  Is there an alternative to using a plastic bag to line our rubbish bins?

I've been cutting back on our plastic use for a few years now and this year I'm making a real concentrated effort to eliminate any plastic that can be replaced with something more sustainable.  Going completely plastic free may be unattainable but I'll just do the best I can to get as close as I can. 

One thing I struggled with for years is the idea of not putting a plastic bag in my rubbish bins as a liner.  The thought of no liners and having to scrub my bins out put me right off.  So I've just carried on using kitchen liners in my big kitchen bin and supermarket plastic bags in my other bins, but not been feeling good about it.  

As time went on and got into the habit of taking my own reusable cloth bags to the supermarket (every time I went) we had less plastic bags in the house so I ended up with none to put in the bins.  I had to slowly stop using liners in my bins, except I did carry on with bin liners for the kitchen bin.  I first started with the bedroom and computer desk bins, they mostly only had paper in them anyway.  Then I took the bold step of not using liners in the bathroom and toilet and you know it wasn't that bad.  I'm a waste freak and go through the bins and separate out paper, soft plastics recycling, and other recycling from the rubbish anyway.  I hardly ever have to clean out those bins they stay really clean.

Now the kitchen rubbish bin was a different story!  What was I going to do with that!  I hated that I was still using plastic and that took me to the even bolder step of using a newspaper liner.  Below is a video to show you how to make them, I actually get the kids to make it for me each time I empty the bin.  I only empty the bin once a week now and it is mostly only  1/4 - 1/2 full at the end of a week.  I can't believe that the newspaper liner holds everything and doesn't break, it's perfect!  Honestly, give it a go, what's the harm in trying!

The key has been that I have been cutting back waste for a while know, we put out 1 paper rubbish sack at the gate once every 4-6 weeks at the moment.  I'm finding our rubbish bins don't really have much messy stuff in them any more anyway, which really helps.
 

Here's some of my tips making sure your rubbish isn't wet or smelly for a newspaper liner:

  • No food scraps go in the bins.  We use a worm farm, compost and have chickens and sheep that love our scraps.  Anything they can't deal with gets buried in the garden to decompose (not sure if this is good or bad but my rubbish bin doesn't smell).
  • All soft plastics such as bread bags, chip packets, cat food bags, goes to the supermarket soft plastic recycling bin. Just make sure they are washed and dried first so they can be used or they will end up going to the landfill. If you buy meat in plastic this can be washed, dried and put in recycling too.  I buy my meat from my local butcher and take reusable containers for them to fill.
  • Swapping to a moon cup has been a huge waste mimimiser!  You could try that or reusable pads or something similar to cut out sanitary wastage.  I love that I now have no wastage there!  
  • If you have nappies in the house look at washable options, there are some great options out there now.  Also don't use baby wipes, try buying some cloths especially for this and wash and reuse them (I used to use small Chux cloths).
  • Use cloth napkins instead of serviettes and paper towels (I bought a whole lot 2nd hand) and reusable cloth pads instead of facial pads.

I'm sure there's more that I can't think of right now but you are most welcome to email me if I've forgotten a messy item that normally goes in the bin and I'll add it (if I have an alternative).

 
This video came from Boomerang Bags YouTube Channel
Topics: , Reducing Waste
 
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