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Are honeybees
and bumblebees
different?
Lots of people get honeybees and bumblebees mixed up, but it's easy to tell them apart
when you know what to look for.
First of all, make sure you're not looking at a wasp.
You can tell a wasp from its slim and smooth body
- it's a bit like a jet airplane with spindly legs!
Here are some facts to help you tell bumblebees and honeybees apart:
Honeybees
Thin with no fur.
Live in hives, in swarms
of 1000-25000.
Make lots of honey
to share around.
A bit grumpy.
Can only sting once.
Bumblebees
Plump and Furry.
Live in nests, in family
groups of five to 50.
Only make enough honey
to feed their babies.
Friendly and shy.
Can sting many times.
The story of Kiwi bumblebees
How did bumblebees end up in New Zealand? Well, they were brought over here from England on a ship more than 100 years ago, to pollinate delicious Red Clover plants.
Farmers liked to feed Red Clover plants to their animals, but honeybees find it too hard to buzz their way into the Red Clover flower. That's why bumblebees were put in charge, instead!
What does 'pollination' mean?
Have you ever seen bees buzzing around a colourful flower, then moving on to the next one? That's called pollination. It's when the wind, birds or insects (like bees!) carry special powder called pollen from one flowering plant to the next.
When a plant has been pollinated, it can make seeds, and seeds are what make new plants. So without pollination, we wouldn't have any lovely flowers or fruits to enjoy. Imagine that!
Bumblebee jobs
Bumblebees are really good gardeners. Because they have so much hair, pollen sticks to them - and because they're nice and plump, there's lots of space for the pollen, too.
Bumblebee tricks
The pollen in most flowers is easy to get to when you're a bee - you just crawl all over the petals. But for other flowers, like tomato plants, the pollen is harder to reach because it's kept in little tubes.So what bees do is use their legs to hold on tight to the plant, and then start buzzing, which makes everything shake. After a while, the pollen comes loose and covers the bee in lots of yellow pollen-y goodness.
Baby tomato plants start off as little seedlings in a nursery. When they're about four weeks old, they're finally big enough to leave the nursery and join the grownup tomato plants in the hothouse.
A hothouse is a big glass house that's really warm inside, which help plants grow. The tomato plants are fed and watered every day, and there's always someone around to make sure the plants aren't hungry.
Keeping pests away
We use natural means whenever we can to get rid of harmful bugs. One of the ways we do this is to plant lavender at the entrance of the hothouse, because pests really hate it. We also put yellow sticky tape around the hothouse (the pests mistake it for tomato flowers and get stuck) and spray diluted garlic onto the plants (the pests are like vampires, they can't stand garlic!).
Once the tomato plants are nearly tall enough to reach the top of the hothouse, the first fruit can be picked. Like other plants, tomatoes grow from the top, so first we take the ripe fruit from the bottom. Then we move the plant downwards, so the newer tomatoes are closer to the ground.
If the tomatoes were left to grow all on their own, they'd be too heavy for their stalks and grow all over the floor. The leaves would all be higgledy-piggledy too, and the bees would get all confused! To stop this from happening, the leaves on the sides of the plants are taken away, so the tomatoes are free to grow tall and proud.
After we pick the tomatoes , A special camera takes a
photo of every single one of them! The photos of the
tomatoes are then sent to a special computer, which
decides if they're good enough to become a Sweets tomato.
The specially chosen tomatoes
are carefully placed into a Sweets punnet, and
then make their way to the supermarket...
...where they're popped into your shopping trolley,
taken to your place, and munched on by you!
Hungry for more info about the
growing and packing of Sweets?
Just call us on 0508 800 100 or email
info@mysweets.co.nz and we'll
be right with you.
Bumble Growing Picking Contact