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.


Sustainable Gift Giving This Christmas

Written by Stephanie on November 12th, 2019.      0 comments

It's so hard to believe that we are in the middle 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 some great sustainable tips on gift giving and wrapping.

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.  Last 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! 

Scarf-Wrapping-1   Scarf-Basket

Check out our range of sustainable Christmas gifts


 

Topics: Enviromental
 

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

Written by Stephanie on November 9th, 2019.      0 comments

It's a great time of year to get our creative juices flowing and give some homemade gifts this Christmas.  We've got some great ideas using beeswax!

 

  1. Beeswax Food Wraps

    Beeswax food wraps make great gifts, the perfect size to post, give as a secret santa gift, stocking filler or to add to another gift.  It's a great way to get friends or family away from plastic food wrap!  

    You can either buy a kit that has the main ingredients, as it can be difficult to find resins and/or propolis you require for the beeswax mix, or find your own ingredients and follow a recipe such as this one in Life & Leisure magazine.  You can purchase Sweetree plain beeswax to make your own mix.

    If you've run out of time or just not into the mess it might create you can always purchase pre-made honeywrap food wraps

    HoneyWrapXmas
     

  2. Solid Perfume

    If you want to give someone a fragrance but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for a tiny bottle of celebrity-endorsed fragrance, these solid perfumes allow you to create your own brand of fragrance, that also moisturises and protects skin with beeswax and natural oils. The other bonus is that solid perfumes don’t spill, nor do they contain alcohol or synthetic chemicals. Check out a great recipe for solid perfume.
solid-perfume
 
 
  1. Lip Balm

    Everyone needs lip balm from time to time, especially if you're in the elements.  It's a great gift to make! Try this honey lip balm or Wendyl Nissen's lip balm.

    Homemade-Lip-Balm-151-569-330

  2. Candles  

Candles make a wonderful gift.  Did you know that burning beeswax produces negative ions that circulate in the room and attract pollutants and clean your air?  Many people report that burning a beeswax candle in your bedroom 30 minutes before falling asleep produces a more restful sleep.  All our beeswax products are 100% beeswax.

Try this simple recipe for making candles and purchase beeswax from our store, or if you don't have the time or inclination to make candles you can always purchase them already made up.

how-to-make-beeswax-candles-2

Check out this other recipes as well:

 

Purchase Sweetree beeswax


 
Topics: , gifts , Plastic Free, Recipes
 

Christmas Gift Hampers and Boxes - Sorted!

Written by Stephanie on November 8th, 2019.      0 comments

Now's the time to get your Christmas gift hampers and boxes sorted! If you're looking for local goodies to go into a gift basket or our looking for a unique gift box look no further!  Give a taste of the Waikato with a Sweetree honey gift box.  Each honey comes from a different area in the Waikato and has it's own distinct taste depending on the location and time of year it is harvested.  

Check out our gift box options

 
xams gift boxes-945-155-539
Topics: , Products
 

Christmas Gifts for Everyone!

Written by Stephanie on November 7th, 2019.      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
 

Bee Swarms

Written by Stephanie on November 1st, 2019.      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
 

Conservation Week

Written by Stephanie on October 13th, 2019.      0 comments

Join Many New Zealanders from 14–22 September to celebrate 50 years of Conservation Week! 

New Zealand’s wildlife is still in crisis with more than 4,000 of our native animals and plants threatened or at risk. Conservation Week is a chance to bring everyone together to do something, big or small to create change.

Every year Conservation Week sees thousands of New Zealanders getting involved through doing conservation activities at home or attending one of many events hosted across the country. Creating change can be big or small, when we pull together, we can make a big difference.

Find out more and check out events near you
 
Conservation week-201
Topics: , Enviromental
 

World Habitat Day

Written by Stephanie on October 7th, 2019.      0 comments

World Habitat Day-816Today is World Habitat Day.  What does that mean?

More than 30 years ago the United Nations designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. This year's theme is to harness frontier technologies to achieve sustainable waste management.

The UN says technology has great potential to improve how people work and live, to significantly accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change. Frontier technologies, such as automation, robotics, electric vehicles, renewable energy technologies, biotechnologies, and artificial intelligence can transform the social, economic and environmental spheres. They can offer better, cheaper, faster, scalable and easy to use solutions for every-day problems, including waste management.

Great news, sounds exciting!  

Find out more
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Honeywraps Are Set Apart From Other Food-Wraps

Written by Stephanie on October 2nd, 2019.      0 comments

HoOrganic Cotton Honeywrap-288neywrap food wraps are set apart from other food-wraps, the most important difference is that they are made with certified organic fabric, and always have been. If you are serious about protecting the planet, as we are - then organic cotton is a must. Why would you choose non-organic for the same price? 

Normal cotton has one of the highest pesticides in the world - poisoning the soil, water ways and impacting the health of local communities. GOTs certified organic cotton uses no pesticides, thus is much better for the planet, local farmers, communities and us.

Another great difference is that the fabric is designed in collaboration with NZ artists and charities.  We love everything about Honeywrap food wraps!
 

Purchase honeywraps 

HoneyWrap XL Citygarden Bread-30-508-719
Topics: , Enviromental , Products
 

Sustainable Product Labels

Written by Stephanie on September 25th, 2019.      0 comments

At Sweetree honey we are passionate about sustainability, we take good care of our bees, we are careful about wastage, we don't use plastic anywhere through the honey process and we pack our honey in the most sustainable form we know, glass.
Hakarimata-Close-up
We do our best to be sustainable in all areas of our business but unfortunately there’s no such thing as perfection. Product labels have been a tricky one.  We initially chose our labels because we loved them, they were simple, clear and sophisticated.  We have recently carried out a review of our labels and have been advised by many label companies that our current labels are the most environmentally friendly currently available in New Zealand.  They are 100% plastic and therefore the label and the backing can be recycled in soft plastics recycling, where as other labels are usually multi material labels and difficult to recycle.

Paper labels would be more desirable and yes there are paper labels and we have investigated these but have been advised these aren't as eco-friendly as you may think.  What dictates the eco friendliness of labels, the recyclability or compostability of the label, is both the adhesive (the layer that sticks it to the jar) and the coating (the layer over the top, like a varnish), which protects the paper from staining from product (eg honey dripping down the jar or deterioration from moisture).  Also the backing paper of these labels is currently un-recyclable in NZ, due to the silicon in the backing paper which allows you to peel your label off the roll.  No label is 100% green in NZ yet but we will continue to look for better options.

Sweeetree's current label supplier has a good system for managing waste, has reduced emissions, does not use solvents in plate making, supports many local causes and has a good chain of custody in place.  Both our label and backing of the label can be recycled in soft plastic recycling and turned into something else.  If you have trouble getting our label off the jar, just warm it up with a hairdryer or something similar and pop it in soft plastics recycling!
 

Check out Sweetree honeys

Topics: , Enviromental, Products
 

Looking For Kanuka, Rewarewa or Rata Honey?

Written by Stephanie on September 11th, 2019.      0 comments

Are you looking for a Kanuka, Rewarewa or Rata honey?  Sweetree has it!  As you know Sweetree honey produces honey from specific areas of the Waikato and we name the honey after those areas.  But of course in our bush apiary locations there is normally a dominant flower source for the honey.  If you are looking for a particular floral source in our honeys here's which honeys to look for:

Kanuka - Four Brothers Reserve
Rewarewa - Marokopa Spring
Rata - Marokopa Summer
 
Kanuka-Rewarewa-Rata
Topics: , Products
 

Why Eat Local Honey?

Written by on September 5th, 2019.      0 comments

You Can Purchase Raw Honey

You can purchase raw/unpasteurised honey directly from a beekeeper that still retains its natural vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, and other important nutrients.  By buying honey directly from the beekeeper you know where your honey comes from, how it's collected and processed, and how well the bees are looked after.  


Sweetree-Honey-PyramidYou Protect The Environment

Since local honey doesn’t have to travel far, you save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.  Great for the earth!


You Can Alleviate Allergies

Eating local honey leading up and during the hay fever season could help your body desensitise against air borne pollens.  Read more on honey and allergies

 

You are Supporting Local Agriculture

One third of our food is pollinated by bees.  By eating local honey you are helping local growers pollinate their crops. And remember, when you buy local food you strengthen your local economy.


You are Supporting a Local Beekeeper

Small beekeeping businesses are passionate about bees and their environment and are often family run.  When you support local businesses you're supporting local families.
 

Thanks for supporting your local beekeepers!


Check out Sweetree's Local Honey Range

Topics: , Enviromental, Products
 

Local Honey For Allergies

Written by Stephanie on September 4th, 2019.      0 comments

Did you know that eating local honey leading up and during the hay fever season could help your body desensitise against air borne pollens?  Research shows that it works like a vaccination does against childhood diseases.  This desensitisation is based on the idea that the small amounts of pollen in the honey will cause the body to produce antibodies that will cancel out the effects of the air borne pollen when the person is exposed to it again.  

Many of our customers find that eating a Sweetree honey variety produced closest to their home beneficial for reducing hay fever symptoms. Our honeys are not finely filtered, therefore still retaining a high pollen count, which will help with hay fever. Give it a try and let us know how you get on.
 

Find Your Local Honey

 

Here's some feedback from a regular Sweetree honey customer:


"We use Sweetree Honey for allergies. I use to live on a antihistamine a day during the pollen season and tried local honey when I first discovered Sweetree. I originally started with a teaspoon a day of the Horsham Downs one as was our closest until you started making Kirikiriora.  As I worked at the zoo at the time and also my two boys were at daycare on that side of town thought this was our most local and so started my two boys on a teaspoon a day also. We saw a huge difference in both their itchy nose/eyes and also they did not seem to have as many respiratory illnesses (which thinking back now where probably allergy induced respiratory issues).

I now only take when I feel pollen is bad so think it must of allowed me to build up some sort of immunity. The boys especially the 5 year old lines up for teaspoons of honey whenever the honey jar is visible and I give them both a teaspoon a day during bad pollen times or if they sound sniffly.  We also use it for coughs as a teaspoon seems to soothe the throat quickly and stop the cough."

Haley McLaughlin, Hamilton

 

Which is your local honey?
Sweetree-Local-Hamilton-Honeys


Read more on what you can do for seasonal allergies

Here's some other reasons for buying local honey

Topics: , Health Articles, Products
 

Supply Water for Bees

Written by Stephanie on September 3rd, 2019.      1 comments

Summer is an important time of year to ensure the bees have plenty of water to drink.  Spring is a great time to prepare water stations to help the bees in your garden this summer.  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-557
Topics: , Bee Facts
 

Avoiding Insecticides that Affect Bees!

Written by Stephanie on September 2nd, 2019.      0 comments

One of the biggest threats 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.  Sprays and coated seeds containing neonicotinoids are linked to bees disappearing around the world.  Unfortunately they persist in the environment for a long time, so keep on affecting bees.  The European Union have banned neonicotinoid insecticides for two years until further studies have been carried out.  This is fantastic! 
 

neonicotinoids food chain-392-696Avoid products that contain these:

  • Acetamprid    
  • Imidacloprid  
  • Thiacloprid   
  • Thiamethoxam


Tui, one of New Zealand's gardening suppliers, says that “the solution is to reduce the risk of insect attack, by keeping plants healthy, well watered and well fertilised to maintain a strong plant. Insects are more likely to attack weak plants. If insect problems do occur, choose one of the natural based insect control options available”  They have a range of bee friendly products and you can also purchase natural based insect controls such as Easy Trap, Kiwicare and Yates products.

Or you can make your own all-purpose garden spray by using ingredients from your kitchen cupboard, there's loads of recipes online.  
 

If you have to spray:

  • Spray carefully and spray in the late evening with bee friendly sprays after bees have gone to bed.       
  • Don’t spray while plants are flowering.
  • Don’t spray insecticides for a fortnight before flowering.      
  • Avoid spraying plants that bees are feeding on.

One major problem is that there are many pest controls, including neonicotinoids, used on produce and as a seed treatment, there seems to be no restrictions in place.   How can we stop this happening?  We can:
  • Grow our own fruit and veges    
  • Preserve your own food    
  • Buy from your local farmers market and ask the producer how they handle pests
  • Eat organic produce and food.  Hopefully this will then increase the supply of organically grown food and decrease the amount of sprays being used in crops.
 

Read more on looking after our NZ bees here:

Topics: , Bee Friendly, Enviromental
 

Feed The Bees - Plant Bee Friendly Plants!

Written by Stephanie on September 1st, 2019.      2 comments

As you may know this month is 'Bee Aware Month' and with spring upon us it's a great time to focus on making sure our Kiwi bees have plenty of food to keep them buzzing!

Bees forage on flowers for nectar, which provide carbohydrates, and pollen, for protein. These are important for growth and energy. Well-nourished bees are more capable of fending off disease and parasites.  And you may be aware there are more and more diseases and parasites that affect bees in New Zealand.
But what can we do?  There is plenty we can do, we can plant bee friendly plants, not use bee harmful chemicals in our gardens and supply water for them.  I'll be covering these aspects in blogs this month.  First I'll cover what you can plant at your palce to feed the bees.

 

How to Encourage Bees To Your Garden

 

  • Planting in large clusters of the same species of flower will attract bees into your garden
  • Plant flowers for each season, a steady source of nectar and pollen all year round will help ssustain the bees


Here’s a list of some plants to get you going:


wildflower panarama
 

Herbs:

Basil Chives Lavender Rosemary
Bergamot Coriander Lemon Balm Sage
Borage Dill Marshmallow Spearmint
Calendula Echinacea Oregano Tarragon
Caraway Garlic Chives Parsley Thyme
Catnip Lamb’s Ears Rocket Verbena
 

Wildflowers:

Wildflowers are naturally organic—they are not susceptible to bugs or diseases, can help control garden pests and they attract bees and beneficial insects into the garden. We sell a wildflower seed mix with all the following flowers included, and the great thing is all proceeds go to the National Beekeepers Association for research into helping our NZ bees.
 
Calendula Plains coreopsis Toadflax Baby Blue Eyes
China aster Forget-me-not Blue Linum Corn Poppy
Mixed cornflowers Blanket flower Sweet Alyssum Sweet Mignonette
Farewell to spring Globe Gilia Virginia Stock  
 

Other Plants / Shrubs / Flowers:

Abelias  Foreget-me-nots  Lavender  Seaside Daisy
Balsam  Fuchsias  Marigolds  Sumacs
Begonias  Geranium  Michaelmas daisy  Summer phlox
Butterfly bushes  Giant Hyssop  Nasturtiums  Sunflower
California Bluebell  Gladioli  Penstemon  Sweet Alyssum
Carnations  Globe thistles  Petunias  Sweet Peas
Cornflowers  Gorse  Phacelia  Wild Lilac
Cosmos  Hebe  Poppy  Wild & Old Fashioned Roses
Crape myrtle  Hollyhock  Salvia  Zinnia
 

Trees:

Australian Gum Hazelnuts Napaka Three Finger
Alders Heketara NZ Jasmine NZ Tulip tree
Bottlebrush Kanuka  Oaks Tupelos
Cabbage Tree Kohuhu Pohutukawa Viburnum
Camellia Koromiko Rata Weeping Kowhai 
Cotoneaster Lacebark Rewarewa Willows
Five Finger Lemonwood Sycamores Wisteria
Harakeke, NZ Flax Manuka  Tawari  

bee in vege-945-485-507

Vegetables:

Buckwheat Cucumbers Spinach
Capsicums Eggplant Sweetcorn
Carrot Pumpkins, squash Tomatoes
Courgettes Silver Beet Zucchini

Please note: growing flowers among your vegetables is a great way to encourage bees and discourage pest insects.  Find out more about companion planting.


Fruit & Berries:

Apple  Crabapples  Lemons  Peaches
Berries  Elderberries  Limes  Pear
Blackberries  Flowering quinces  Melons  Persimmons
Blueberries  Grapefruit  Oranges  Plub
Cherries  Kiwifruit  Passion Fruit  Strawberry

Cosmos flower and bee-74-912Of course there are many more, so do some more research for plants in your area.  Garden catalogues often make note of which plants attract bees.  Here’s some tips for choosing plants:
  • Look for flowers with single layers of petals instead of doubles or triples
  • Select simple traditional flowers that are not highly modified
  • Choose flowers that have big open ‘bowl’ type flowers, that give bees easy access to the nectar and pollen
  • Choose sunny spots with shelter from the wind, over shade.

Remember that bees are attracted to abundance & quality of pollen and nectar, density of flowers, size of plant, fragrance and easy access to the flower's insides.  So choose plants carefully, plant in large clusters of the same species of plants together.   Include different sized and shaped flower.  Try to plant flowers for each season so bees have a source of nectar and pollen all year round.
 
Read more on what else you can do to help the bees in NZ
Where would we be without bees
Helping our NZ bees
Avoid insecticides that affect bees
What else can we do to help NZ bees?
 
Topics: , Bee Friendly
 
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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
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