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.


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
 

Waste Free Christmas

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

Christmas is a fun time of year but it can also be very wasteful, there are many items that get used only once and are then thrown out for example wrapping paper, disposable cups, plates and cutlery. I'm sure we can still have a lot of fun but cut back our waste at the same time!
 

Decorations:

social-media-Candles-239Of course using what you already have is a good start but if you need a refresh on Christmas decorations how about ribbons, material bunting and folding paper decorations, stay away from unsustainable decorations (plastic and tinsel). Homemade items are always really good but if you don't have time for that you might find more sustainable decorations from websites like felt.co.nz.  I brought a fantastic 'Merry Christmas' bunting make of out woollen blankets on Felt a few years ago that will last for decades, I love it.  Beeswax candles make a lovely feature on the table.  And remember that the garden has lots to offer, not just flowers but foliage, pine cones and berries can look good as arrangements or placed on the table. And once used they can go to the compost!

Go rummaging around in 2nd hand shops and choose colourful candle sticks, vases, serving dishes, table cloth and cloth serviettes for the table. 
 

Crockery

It's best to avoid using disposable plates and utensils all together, but if you need disposables choose home compostable ones. You will need make it easy for your guests to know where to dispose scrap food and their plates and utensils, so a waste station that is clearly labelled is going to help.

If you don't have enough of your own crockery or utensils then ask friends and family to bring their own plates and/or utensils and take home afterwards. Or just borrow from friends or hire bits and pieces from a hireage company.
 

Cleaning up

Having a wash up station is a great idea. You can ask folk to wash 10 plates or get the kids on board to help. If the wash area is well set up people are happy to help, just keep an eye out for the very diligent helper and make sure you drag them out of the kitchen. You want everyone to have a turn. Make sure there are some special drinks and food nearby so they all get spoilt too!

We have a pretty complicated waste system with chicken, worm farm and compost scraps, paper, soft plastics and other recycling.  When we have gatherings at our place (and they can be be quite big with Martin being one of seven) I label were all the different things go so we don't add to the landfill.
 

Gifts

Try to avoid unhelpful gift buying and receiving by having lists, telling people you don’t need a gift, and discouraging secret Santa.  Sometimes we don’t need stuff but enjoy experiences and help.  We can take people on a little adventure, give them a massage, offer to do a chore, cook a special dinner or go on a picnic, there are so many ideas that you and your family could enjoy. You can create redeemable vouchers.  

Instead of secret Santa how about an alternative for example the exchange of favourite recipes, or even jokes, life hacks, fun facts, a favourite saying or piece of poetry, or even a compliment if you know the recipient - you might need to choose a theme so everyone is on board.  Our your could all donate to a special charity.

I've got loads of sustainable gift giving & wrapping ideas in my other blog post.
 

Catering

social-media-waste-free-celebrations-726Try to make dips, hummus and pate instead of the prepacked versions.  Make your own drinks instead of fizzy drinks in plastic bottles.  We use a soda stream that uses the same bottles over and over and add Barkers fruit concentrate to flavour them.  Barkers is in glass jars and use real fruit instead of flavours and colours.

There are shops that will fill your own containers like Hamilton Beer and Wine Co or the Good George. Of course there is the traditional beer swappa crate as well.

Get a little organised and try to make a salad rather than buy salads prepackaged at the supermarket.  Use a tried and true one to avoid stress or maybe you need some motivation and want to try a new recipe.  Remember when buying your salad greens avoid the ones in plastic!  

If you're taking a plate to someone else's house take it in a nice platter and cover it with an extra large Honeywrap, not only is it better for the environment, it looks great and you can leave the wrap behind as a gift for the host. 

It's a great time to start thinking outside the square and see what sustainable options you can bring into your Christmas celebrations this year.  Enjoy!
 

Get more tips on sustainable gift giving and wrapping
Check out Sweetree's sustainable gift range

Topics: , Enviromental
 

Sustainable Gift Giving This Christmas

Written by Stephanie on November 17th, 2018.      0 comments

It's so hard to believe that we are nearly at the end of November and Christmas is just around the corner!  It can be a stressful time of year with everything winding up, buying gifts, planning Christmas day and holidays.  But once that's all out of the way it is a special time of year, time to spend with loved ones, time to put our feet up and take a well deserved breather after a busy year. 

Christmas is my favourite time of year but it can also be a very wasteful time of year and I'm going to be much more mindful of that wastage this year and minimise it as much as possible!  Here's a reminder on some tips I blogged about earlier in the year on gift giving and wrapping, I will be writing another blog shortly on waste free celebrations...

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 at Christmas.  This year I came 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!  I'm about to go back to the second had shop and see what they have in Christmasy colours!

Scarf-Wrapping-1   Scarf-Basket

Check out our range of sustainable Christmas gifts


 

Topics: , Enviromental
 

Christmas Gifts for Everyone!

Written by Stephanie on November 15th, 2018.      0 comments

Sweetree has something for everyone this Christmas!  We have an extensive gift range including Waikato honey, gift boxes, books, honey wraps, candles, plastic free products, honey sticks and much more.
social-media-Group-all-xmad-gifts-cluttered

You can get a lot of your Christmas shopping done right here, in one spot!  Here is Sweetree's Christmas buying guide.


social-media-honey-sticks-928For the Kids:


For the Honey / Bee Lover:

 

social-media-TLeaf-Tea-blurred-xmas-tree-883A Relaxing Gift for that person always on the go:

 

For the Host:

 

social-media-JOCO-u-konserve-in-ribbon-424Plastic Free Gifts:


Social-Media-Do-Gooder-549Santa Stocking Fillers or Secret Santa Gifts:


See our full Christmas gift range here!



 
Topics: , Products
 

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
 

Bee Swarms

Written by Stephanie on October 9th, 2018.      0 comments

Spring is the 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

There's actually a great list of hobby beekeeping clubs on the Kiwimana website, there might be one near you.  Hobby beekeepers are always on the scout out for new bee colonies!

 

Read More:

Why do bees sting?
Remedies for bee stings
 
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

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
 

Supply Water for Bees

Written by Stephanie on September 6th, 2018.      1 comments

Summer is an important time of year to ensure the bees have plenty of water to drink.  Help the bees in your garden this summer by creating some water stations for them.  The trick is to create stations that are not too deep and allow the bees to drink water without falling in.  Here's some ideas:
 
  • Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water
  • Place pebbles or twigs in a saucer of water so bees have something to stand on and drink
  • Fill a bucket, pail or trough with water. Cover the top of the water with wine corks, this gives the bees a landing pad to drink from
  • Wet sand is another great option, pop it near flowering plants and water regularly.

Drinking-Bees
Topics: , Bee Facts
 
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