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.


Products from the Hive

Written by Stephanie on April 7th, 2016.      0 comments

Bees are amazing creatures!  They create so many products from their hives that humans have used for centuries for food and health.  They are:
  • frameBees wax
  • Propolis
  • Honey
  • Bee Pollen and Bee Bread
  • Royal Jelly
  • Bee Venom

Over the next little while I will be blogging about each one of these products.  I will be explaining how the bees make each one, their benefits and uses for each.  The first one will be beeswax, so look out for the blog soon!
Topics: Bee Facts Products of the Hive
 

Remedies for Bee Stings

Written by Stephanie on December 18th, 2015.      0 comments

bee-sting

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.
  • packet of lollies for a child...works a treat, for total distraction!
 
Some information for this blog was research from www.en.wikipedia.org and www.wisegeek.com
 
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Why Do Bees Sting?

Written by Stephanie on December 11th, 2015.      1 comments

bee stingHave 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 handed 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 of 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
 

What Happens to the Bees Over Winter?

Written by Stephanie on May 28th, 2015.      0 comments

Beehives in SnowHave you every wondered what happens to the bees after the long busy summer?  They deserve a good rest that is for sure!

During the warm months bees would normally collect enough honey and bee pollen to keep them going over the winter months.  Beekeepers add 'super' boxes to the hives for the bees to collect more honey.  It is these extra super boxes that are extracted and packed for human consumption.  At Sweetree we leave enough honey and bee pollen in the hive for the bees to keep strong over the the winter months.
 

Do Bees Hibernate?


People often think that bees hibernate over the winter months, but they do something more fascinating over the cold period.  Their major purpose of the winter is to take care of the queen, so she can re-colonize the hive in spring. 

In late autumn, when they have their stores of honey for the winter, they throw all the drones (male bees) out of the hive to die.  They cannot afford to feed extra mouths and the queen does not need them for mating over this period.

Bees stop flying when the temperatures drop down to around 10 degree celsius. They stay inside the hive and go into a big huddle to keep as warm as possible, this is called a winter cluster.  The queen is kept inside the cluster to keep her warm and safe.  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. 

They usually don't fly outside the hive as there are no flowers in bloom, therefore no pollen or nectar is available.  But on nice sunny winter days you can see bees flying short distances out of the hive and then quickly returning, this is to eliminate body waste.

When it gets closer to spring I'll talk about what bees do in spring-time.
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Plant Trees for the Bees in Spring!

Written by Stephanie on May 15th, 2015.      0 comments

Autumn is the perfect time to plant trees and plants so they are ready for the bees to feed on in spring-time! 

Good carbohydrate (nectar) and protein (pollen) sources are critical to the honey bee’s survival and good health.   They need a good supply of flowers with good protein-rich pollen in spring for raising young bees and then diverse and abundant nectar sources throughout summer.

A poor diet and malnutrition compromises the bee’s ability to withstand long term stresses such as Varroa and to resist diseases.  If we can all plant some good sources of pollen and nectar for bees it will make a big difference to their survival.

Planting these trees will help NZ Bees:
 
  • Wattles
  • Kotukutuku
  • Lemonwood
  • Five Finger
  • Ngaio
  • Putaputaweta
  • Pohutukawa
  • Rata and Southern Rata
  • Lacebark or Ribbonwood
  • Eucalypts
  • Willows
  • Bottlebrush
  • Cabbage tree
  • Harakeke, NZ Flax
  • Koromiko 
  • NZ Jasmine
  • Rewarewa
  • Tulip tree 
  • Wisteria
wattle
Wattle is a good source of pollen in spring-time
Topics: , Bee Facts, Bee Friendly
 

Bee Swarms

Written by Stephanie on October 2nd, 2014.      0 comments

It's that time of year when you are likely to see a few bee swarms.  For those that don't know much about swarms I thought I would explain what they are, why bees swarm and what to do if you have one turn up at your place.

Firstly, have a look at one of our beehives swarming!


 

What is a Swarm and Why do Bees Swarm?


Bee-SwarmMainly in springtime you may see a very large group of bees flying together or you may see a big clump (like a ball) of bees hanging from a branch, on a fence, against your house, or some other place.  This is a swarm of bees.  

A swarm is when a queen bee takes a large group  of worker bees (usually about 50-60% of the hive) with her and leaves the hive to find a new home.  It is a natural means of reproduction for bee colonies.  ​A swarm of bees could consist of thousands to tens of thousands of bees.

The reason bees swarm could be due to one of these causes:
  • There are two queens in a hive so one takes half the bees out and finds another home
  • There are too many bees for one hive, a new queen is created and the old queen moves off with some of the bees
  • The bees are simply predisposed genetically to swarming (instinctive)


What to Do if You are in the Path of Moving Swarm:


Don't panic! Don't run!  Don't fling your arms around!  Just remember they will have filled up on honey before they left and will be docile and unable to sting.  But to be safe just crouch down low and stay still until they pass.
 

What to Do if you Have a Swarm on your Property:


Don't panic!  Don't touch them!  Don't spray them!  They will not harm you unless you harm them.

The best thing you can do is to get hold of a local beekeeper to come and collect it. There are hobby beekeeping clubs all around the country and they are often looking for swarms to fill new hives.

Look for a beekeeper in your area on the National Beekeepers Association website.  Or google a hobby beekeeper's club near you.  Here are some club websites:

Waikato Hobby Beekeeping Club
Auckland Beekeepers Club
Whangarei Beekeeping Club
Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeeping Club
 
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

What Can We Do to Help NZ Bees?

Written by Stephanie on September 10th, 2014.      0 comments

National Beekeepers Association created 'Bee Aware Month', a major campaign designed beeto educate New Zealanders about the importance of the humble, often overlooked, honey bee. Bees are critically important to New Zealand and to the New Zealand economy – much more so than you might think!

Without bees, our gardens would be without many of their plants and flowers, and our major agri-export industries (worth around $5 billion) would be in severe trouble and a huge 2/3 of our food would disappear!  The 2/3 of our produce that depend on honey bees for pollination provide 35% of our calories, most of our minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.  What would happen to our nutrient food intake and in turn our health if our bees disappeared?  Albert Einstein said “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live".

Honey bee colonies are dying or disappearing in record numbers in USA.  Thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace.  The bees seem to fly off never to return, leaving the queen bee and mother of the hive to starve to death.

Things aren’t quite so bad in New Zealand, yet, but New Zealand bees are increasingly threatened with the long-term effects of varroa mite and other new diseases.  Added to this is the misuse of pesticides that affect bees in gardens and on farms, the loss of habitat for shelter and the lack of flowers for bee food.
 

Here’s what can we do to help our precious New Zealand bees survive:

 
  • Go organic or at least limit pesticides in our gardens.  If you struggle with that idea then look for bee friendly sprays and use them at dusk when the bees are back in their hives.
  • Grow plants in your garden that attract bees.  Bees love plants with ample amounts of pollen and nectar wildflowersuch as lavender, rosemary, calendula and forget-me-not .  Remember bees are attracted to these colours: yellow, blue-green, blue and ultraviolet flowers.    You can purchase wildflower bee friendly seeds here.   All the money from these seed sales go back to the National Beekeepers Association to help NZ bees.  Also check out the Urban Trees for Bees pamphlet showing planting suggestions.  
  • Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water.
  • Don’t mow you lawn too often, leave clover and dandelion in the lawn for a while for bees to forage on (if you can stand it).
  • Eat more organic food to encourage producers to limit pesticides on crops.
  • If you come across a swarm of bees please don’t call the exterminators but instead call your local beekeeping club.  The National Beekeeping Association have some contact numbers on their website.  Having said this you do want to destroy wasp nests as they rob beehive stores.  You can pour petrol on their nests or contact a terminator.  Make sure you learn the difference between a wasp nest and natural beehive though!
  • Find out more about the honey you are eating and make sure it is from beekeepers who care about their bee’s health and not just about production.
  • Spread the word by letting people know this information and support any petitions or change in policy that further protects our bees.

“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.”  by Krishna, Rama

Information for this blog post was sourced from The National Beekeepers Association and The Telegraph
Topics: , Bee Facts, Bee Friendly
 

Bee Swarms

Written by Stephanie on November 7th, 2013.      0 comments

It's that time of year when you are likely to see a few bee swarms.  For those that don't know much about swarms I thought I would explain what they are, why bees swarm and what to do if you have one turn up at your place.
 

What is a Swarm and Why do Bees Swarm?


Bee-SwarmMainly in springtime you may see a very large group of bees flying together or you may see a big clump (like a ball) of bees hanging from a branch, on a fence, against your house, or some other place.  This is a swarm of bees.  

A swarm is when a queen bee takes a large group  of worker bees (usually about 50-60% of the hive) with her and leaves a hive to find a new home.  It is a natural means of reproduction of bee colonies.  ​A swarm of bees could consist of thousands to tens of thousands of bees.

The reason bees swarm could be due to one of these causes:
  • There are two queens in a hive so one takes half the bees out and finds another home
  • There are too many bees for one hive, a new queen is created and the old queen moves of with some of the bees
  • The bees are simply predisposed genetically to swarming (instinctive)
 

What to do if you have a Swarm on your Property:


To start with - Don't panic!  Don't touch them!  Don't spray them!  They will not harm you unless you harm them.

The best thing you can do is to get hold of a local beekeeper to come and collect it. There are hobby beekeeping clubs all around the country and they are often looking for swarms to fill new hives.

Look for a beekeeper in your area on the National Beekeepers Association website.  Or google a hobby beekeeper's club near you.  Here are some club websites:

Waikato Hobby Beekeeping Club
Whangarei Beekeeping Club
Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeeping Club
Topics: , bee facts
 

Disappearing Bees and What We Can Do

Written by Stephanie on August 20th, 2012.      2 comments

National Beekeepers Association created 'Bee Aware Month', a major campaign designed beeto educate New Zealanders about the importance of the humble, often overlooked, honey bee. Bees are critically important to New Zealand and to the New Zealand economy – much more so than you might think!

Without bees, our gardens would be without many of their plants and flowers, and our major agri-export industries (worth around $5 billion) would be in severe trouble and a huge 2/3 of our food would disappear!  The 2/3 of our produce that depend on honey bees for pollination provide 35% of our calories, most of our minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.  What would happen to our nutrient food intake and in turn our health if our bees disappeared?

Honey bee colonies are dying or disappearing in record numbers in USA.  Thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace.  The bees seem to fly off never to return, leaving the queen bee and mother of the hive to starve to death.

Things aren’t quite so bad in New Zealand, yet, but New Zealand bees are increasingly threatened with the long-term effects of varroa mite and other new diseases.  Added to this is the misuse of pesticides that affect bees in gardens and on farms, the loss of habitat for shelter and the lack of flowers for bee food.
 

Here’s what can we do to help our precious New Zealand bees survive:

 
  • Go organic or at least limit pesticides in our gardens.  If you struggle with that idea then look for bee friendly sprays and use them at dusk when the bees are back in their hives.
  • Grow plants in your garden that attract bees.  Bees love plants with ample amounts of pollen and nectar wildflowersuch as lavender, rosemary, calendula and forget-me-not .  Remember bees are attracted to these colours: yellow, blue-green, blue and ultraviolet flowers.    You can purchase wildflower bee friendly seeds here.   All the money from these seed sales go back to the National Beekeepers Association to help NZ bees.  Also check out the Urban Trees for Bees pamphlet showing planting suggestions.  
  • Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water.
  • Don’t mow you lawn too often, leave clover and dandelion in the lawn for a while for bees to forage on (if you can stand it).
  • Eat more organic food to encourage producers to limit pesticides on crops.
  • If you come across a swarm of bees please don’t call the exterminators but instead call your local beekeeping club.  The National Beekeeping Association have some contact numbers on their website.  Having said this you do want to destroy wasp nests as they rob beehive stores.  You can pour petrol on their nests or contact a terminator.  Make sure you learn the difference between a wasp nest and natural beehive though!
  • Find out more about the honey you are eating and make sure it is from beekeepers who care about their bee’s health and not just about production.
  • Spread the word by letting people know this information and support any petitions or change in policy that further protects our bees.

“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.”  by Krishna, Rama

Information for this blog post was sourced from The National Beekeepers Association and The Telegraph
Topics: , Bee Facts, Bee Friendly
 
ab.jpg

Read our blog to see what’s happening

Read our blog to keep up to date with what we are up to!
Find out more
ab.jpg

What do our customers say?

"This honey so delicious!  It taste just like when I was a kid, rather than the supermarket brands"  Anna Bradford, Rotorua
Read more customer feedback