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Taos Yuletide Arts & Crafts Fair- Nov. 29-31st, 2014

November 25, 2013
by melanie

ZQB honeys will be available for tasting and purchase at the Annual Taos Yuletide Arts & Crafts Fair starting the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 29th through the weekend at the Taos Convention Center, located a few blocks from the Taos Plaza.

Visit Resa, ZQB rep in Bataan Hall, where she’ll have her wildcrafted herbal salves, goats milk soaps and hand painted silk scarves along with ZQB honeys!

We Thank Resa, and the Bees. May we continue to support each others’ efforts and visions.

Gracias a las Abejas y a Nuestra Comadres y Compadres.

Paz y Alma,


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Spring 2014 Intro to Apiculture: Beginning Beekeeping 5-week Course Intensive by M&M

November 25, 2013
by melanie

Plants of the Southwest in Santa Fe will be hosting our Comprehensive 5-week Course Intensive and Field Practicum starting in April 2014. Class will meet 1/week  on Sundays for a total of 20 hours theory and hands on sessions. Tuition includes instruction and starter nucleus colony.

Sessions include information on Honeybee Biology and Life cycle, Hive Designs (including Langstroth, Warre and Top Bar), Seasonal Management, Pests & Diseases, Harvesting & Hive Products, Overwintering  and Handling techniques.

For more info- click this link for pdf flyer:   Spring Intensive 2014 SF

Class size is limited- For those wanting to reserve a spot, deposits are being accepted.

To register, email ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com or call Tel: 505/929-8080



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2014 Reservation Schedule & Availability

November 13, 2013
by melanie

Well, we are indeed looking forward to our “down time” this coming winter. The efforts we extended this past year to a variety of endeavors and projects has depleted our energy stores and so we must recharge by sledding and skiing! So far, we have received 10 inches of snow and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet! We sure hope this means a wet winter :)

Per our normal protocol, we will not begin taking reservations for bees and queens until end of January. We wait at least one month post winter solstice to better assess how our girls are overwintering and how many splits we might be able to anticipate. The past few years, spring has been volatile and challenging. Last season we conducted our first graft the latest in our 8 year history. So who knows what Mother Nature has in store for our bees this coming year and what the anticipated schedule will end up being.

Regardless of how the weather manifests, we are on the bees’ schedule. We have learned not to start too early as it stresses the bees and us out, and yields less than if we wait. So, we wait until the weather begins to stabilize and drone emergence has been evident for at least a few weeks to ensure sexual maturity for  mating.

Additionally, we will be focusing more on providing breeding stock to queen and bee producers around the nation. Since we are limited in size and availability, we want to share our tested survivor stock with those who can incorporate them into their breeding programs to further promote healthy and diversified stock in their apiaries and their produced bees and queens.

This is one way in which our stock can be out-crossed and shared with more stewards than if we produced them alone with our limited numbers. Our limitation is mostly due to topography. Our landscape can only support so many hives and their reproduction. We focus on establishing apiaries and mating zones where diverse and nutritious natural forage is promoted. Quality nutrition helps individual bees to develop an enhanced overlapping network of health within a single hive super organism; thus giving them the environment in which to develop and nurture healthy queens, and positive genetic story (toolkit) display.

To place a reservation for a breeder queen- you can contact us  starting January 22nd, 2014. For spring nuc and queen orders, we will post information on their availability once we determine what we can offer.

We will be offering starter nucs to those who sign up for our 5 week intensive course & field practicum.

We will also be offering a few intermediate and advanced beekeeping practicums throughout the 2014 bee season.

I will post class information within the next month and a half.

Happy Autumn- Thanksgiving reminds us to revere our sentinel sisters who have so eagerly pollinated the crops that are feeding our families and friends.



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Dixon Mercado: Nov. 2-3, 2013

November 2, 2013
by melanie


We’ll be at the Dixon Studio  Tour Mercado again this year. This makes year number 6!

We will be offering our bees’ exquisite NM honeys and beeswax arts at the Dixon Mercado, which is located in the Dixon Elementary School Cafeteria- right across from the Dixon Post Office!

For more info on the studio tour, the various artists and the fun musical and community events that are scheduled this weekend in the Embudo Vallley, visit: http://www.dixonarts.org/

The cottonwoods are a glow and the river is flowing sublime.

Hope to see you there!



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Sincere GRACIAS from WAS & NM beekeepers!!!

October 21, 2013
by melanie

October 21, 2013

Hello attendees & esteemed speakers, exhibitors, vendors, local, regional and global volunteers and support staff-
As outgoing President of WAS for this 2013 year, I would like to extend a BIG THANK YOU from the Land of Enchantment, her beekeepers, and the Western Apicultural Society of North America board and members for participating in this year’s WAS conference: “COLONY CONSCIOUSNESS: Working Together To Preserve, Protect & Promote Our Pollinators”….
Without your interest, support and participation, this event wouldn’t have been possible and wouldn’t have been as successful as indicated by the reports buzzing in!
Please know that WAS board and members especially want to thank the support staff at the La Fonda on the Plaza hotel for their excellence in hospitality and also for their keen attention to detail.
I would also like to thank our sponsors, Walter T. Kelley, Propolis-Etc., NM Dept. of Agriculture, City of Santa Fe, The McCune Foundation, UC Davis Entomology Department, and Zia Queenbee Co. for their gifted contributions and support.
This event was indeed enjoyable, by me and many others and I look forward to working with and learning from you all into the future.
Your humble, bumble servant-
Melanie Kirby
2013 Outgoing WAS President
Cel: 505/901-2102

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IEA encaustiCon 2013 conference: beeswax arts and workshops Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013

October 13, 2013
by melanie



Well, time for something new….Melanie is always eager to try new things, though after this year, will definitely be taking some much needed time off after spending the past year as the President of the Western Apicultural Society of North America and focusing on the continued establishment and funding needs of The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative (which just returned from Kiev, Ukraine from the world beekeeping conference, Apimondia)!

The International Encaustic Artists present  the EncaustiCon conference, which focuses on beeswax medium for artists, will take place Oct. 31st-November 3rd at El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We will be vending our exquisite NM bee products along with sharing information about pollinators and conducting a small presentation in the MarketPlace on Saturday, Nov. 2nd from 1-2pm.

IEA Conference Keynote speaker is:

Alan Bamberger, art consultant, advisor, author, and researcher and independent appraiser. Don’t miss the chance to hear from the creator of artbusiness.com. during the Keynote luncheon on Friday.

Consulting and appraising for artists, galleries, businesses, organizations and collectors since 1982, Mr. Bamberger will be available for private consultations throughout the conference. It is highly recommended that you register in advance for a time slot to meet with him so that you can address your own business and creative challenges.

More info on the event and the schedule can be found at: http://www.encausticon.com/

“Founded in 2005, IEA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for encaustic art, with over 450 member artists in thirty-four states in the U.S., five provinces in Canada, and artists in Mexico, Australia, Europe and Asia.

Toward our mission of “raising the level of excellence in fine art encaustic work by providing a global information exchange,” IEA encaustiCon 2013 will be four packed days of workshops, demonstrations, presentations, speakers and networking events.

To this end, we will have a lineup of outstanding internationally acclaimed artists who will share their encaustic process introducing you to innovative techniques and materials. Professionals will offer insights into managing your business and information about applying for residencies, opening an art school or building on your own entrepreneurial spirit.

With hands-on opportunities to work alongside papermakers, fiber artists, painters, sculptors, mixed media artists and printmakers who use wax in their work, IEA encaustiCon 2013 also offers networking with artists from around the world, shopping extravaganzas for the latest and the greatest encaustic supplies, and memory-making events full of fun and learning.”

IEA Conference MarketPlace Workshop schedule:

EncaustiCon Demo Schedule 2013


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Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference Oct. 25-26, 2013 @ Northern NM College

October 13, 2013
by melanie

The wonderful folks at the Travelling Permaculture Institute, Lorraine Gray and Emigdio Baillon have invited us to participate at their annual conference, “Looking Back to our Ancestors To Step Into the Future”.

Featured speakers include:

Dr. Vandana Shiva, PhD, a world-renowned environmental thinker, activist, physicist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer and science policy advocate, is the Director of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy. 


Dr. Greg Cajete, PhDNative American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission.


We’ll be sharing our exquisite NM honeys and bee products and also conducting a workshop.

The workshop is sCheduled for Friday, Oct. 25th from 3:30-4:30 pm in the Green Room of the Nick L. Salazar Performing Arts Center on the Northern NM College campus in Espanola, New Mexico.

More info on the event can be viewed by visiting: http://4bridges.org/annual-conference/2013-conference/


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Growing Food & Justice “Food is Medicine, Water is Life” Conference Oct. 17-20, 2013

October 13, 2013
by melanie


I will be presenting at the upcoming Growing Food and Justice Initiative for All Conference taking place at the Taos County Economic Development Center in Taos, New Mexico on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 from 9:30-11:30 am.

GFJI’s Mission

The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative is a new initiative aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. This comprehensive network views dismantling racism as a core principal which brings together social change agents from diverse sectors working to bring about new, healthy and sustainable food systems and supporting and building multicultural leadership in impoverished communities throughout the world.

The vision for this initiative is to establish a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities all working toward a food secure and just world.

For a complete view of the conference agenda and speakers (which starts on Friday, October 18th) visit their website at www.growingfoodandjustice.org


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“COLONY CONSCIOUSNESS” WAS Conference 1 month away in October!!!

September 13, 2013
by melanie

WAS NM Conference HB

The Western Apicultural Society of North America presents,

“COLONY CONSCIOUSNESS: Working Together to Preserve, Protect & Promote Our Pollinators” 

October 16-19, 2013

 La Fonda Hotel on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico- USA

This conference features a unique diverse lineup with inviting forums highlighting honeybee health, management and research, alternative pollinators, apitherapy, a benefit pollinator art exhibit, vendors and exhibitors from beekeeping and farming and health organizations.

Also Featuring:

FREE Benefit Pollinator Art Exhibit by Santa Fe artist Kathryn Alexander and Friends

Opening Reception Thursday, October 17th from 5:30-7:00 pm

And….FREE BEE BUZZ KIDS’ CORNER Friday, October 18th from 3-6 pm

To Register and for lodging details visit, http://ucanr.edu/sites/was2 or email ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com

Tel: 505/901-2102


Wednesday, October 16

1:00 – 5:00 pm WAS BOARD Meeting
1:00 – 5:00 Set up – Exhibitor/Vendors & Silent Auction
5:00 – 9:00 Registration
7:00-?  BEE BUZZ SOCIAL: Mosey on down to the Marble Brewery for discounted brew and Rooftop Pizza! Meet WAS board members, State and Province Directors, Beekeepers, Scientists, Farmers and Artists! Overlooking the the 400 year old Santa Fe plaza with its traditional Native American artisan walkway and modern day eclectic galleries and shops.
Dinner on your own

Thursday, October 17

8:00 – 10:00am Registration
8:30 – 8:45am Welcome WAS President/NM President
8:45 – 9:15 Setting the stage – Dr. Jerry Bromenshank: ” The Future of Beekeeping” en memoriam Jim Bach, WAS Treasurer

Track – Genetics and Stock Improvement

9:15 – 10:00am Speaker & discussion Dr. John Kefuss: “Why we buy our varroa mites at $12,000
a pound” – The Great Varroa Challenge
10:00 – 10:30 Break & Networking/Exhibits
10:30 – 11:15 Speaker & discussion Dr. Steve Shepard: “Bee breeding – can we see the
11:15 – 12:00 Speaker & discussion Mark Spitzig: “How Old Are Your Drone’s Mothers?”- Selection criteria for Queen Production”
12:00 – 1:30pm Lunch on your own & networking

Track – Colony Management

1:30 – 2:15pm Speaker & discussion Dr. Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman “Varroa population
dynamics and what it means for mite control strategies”
2:15 – 3:00 Speaker & discussion Dr. Gordon Wardell “Honey bee nutrition: Have we
learned anything in the last 10 years?”
3:00 – 3:30 Break & Networking/Exhibits
3:30 – 4:15 Speaker & discussion Les Crowder “Top bar hive management”
4:15 – Visit to Kate Whealan’s top bar apiary (car pool – 10 mins)
5:30 – 7:00pm “Tiny heroes: Celebrating the Beauty of Our Pollinators”
Kathryn Alexander benefit art exhibit opening reception- on the balcony on the
second (Mezzanine) floor.With Presentations by Ken Bowers (Pollinating Plants)
& Joyce Roetter ( HoShinDo Apitherapy)
Dinner on your own
8:00pm – Brother Adam movie

Friday, October 18

8:00 – 10:00am Registration

Track – Colony Management

8:30 – 9:15am Speaker & discussion Jenny Bach: “A diverse approach: Natural techniques
Hawai’i's beekeepers considered that support colonies for years to come” (with
Jen Rasmussen and Christina Yahn)
9:15 – 10:00 Speaker & discussion Dr. John Kefuss: “To treat or not to treat”
10:00 – 10:30 Break & Networking/Exhibits

Track – Educating Beekeepers and the Public

10:30 – 11:00am Speaker & discussion Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk: “Internet beekeeping – facts,
fictions, and myths”
11:00 – 12:00 Speaker & discussion Joran Viers NMDA Extension “Good neighbors”
12:00 – 1:30pm Lunch on your own & networking

Tracks – Education, Alternate Pollinators

1:30 – 2:15pm Speaker & discussion Dr. Eric Mussen (Education) “Pesticides and honey bees”

2:15 – 3:00 Speaker & discussion Dr. Gordon Wardell (Alternate Pollinators) “PAm, Almonds, Bees and BOBs: What Gordy has been up to”

3:00 – 3:30 Break & Networking/Exhibits

3:00 – 6:00pm Bee Buzz Kids’ Corner with help from Girl Scouts of NM Trails

3:30 – WAS Annnual Meeting, (Video presentation about the Alaska cruise option for

6:30pm – Banquet, Beekeeping in Santa Fe, Awards, end of Silent Auction, What’s on tomorrow

Saturday, October 19

8:00 – 10:00am Registration

Track – Human and Hive Health

8:30 – 9:15am Speaker & discussion Dr. Valerie Solheim: “”High Energy Fields and the Healthy
9:15 – 10:00 Speaker & discussion Dr. Steve Rankin: “New Mexico Honey & Antibiotic-
Resistant Infections”
10:00 – 10:30 Break/Exhibits
10:30 – 11:00 Speaker Conference Wrap – Melanie Kirby, Dr. Eric Mussen, Dr. Jerry

11:15pm – Enchanted Bee Tour leaves, lunch on the way (make sure you book for the tour
if you want to be on it – limited availability).

Tour Featuring Presentations by:

Ed Colby of Bee Culture’s “Bottom Board”monthly column with news from Apimondia

Christi Heintz, Executive Director of Project ApisM with Enchanted Forage for Pollinators Research

Mark Spitzig & Melanie Kirby of Zia Queenbee Co. with Rotational Grazing Concepts & Cooperative Beekeeping Efforts.

For lodging and registration information see flyers:

WAS poster

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2013 Summer Breeder Queens & Virgin Queen availability

July 24, 2013
by melanie

The nectar flow is on here in the southern Rockies. We are experiencing our glorious monsoon rains which are livening up the landscape. Though we are so grateful to have the rains, water indeed, can be a blessing and a curse….not enough and forage withers…too much and nectar and pollens are washed away.

Aye- Mother Nature does indeed keep us humble :)

We are focusing this summer season on building up our hive numbers. Summer is our most favorite time for rearing queens and making honey. In order to make bees and for bees to make honey, they need their populations robust. So, we have decided to keep our production queens for our own needs and share breeder queens with queen producers who would like to incorporate tested survivor stock into their apiary and management systems. We encourage queen producers to incorporate tested survivor stock and to further promote cross stocks between our breeder queens and their stock. Crossing out diverse genetics lends to hybrid vigor, and generational promotion of the hereditary trait of longevity along with promoting a better developed overlapping network of health both of individual bees and the hive organism as a whole.

Longevity is the umbrella trait that we use for selection as it encompasses productivity, demeanor, pest and disease resistance, and endurance. Healthy hives have healthy queens….and healthy queens make healthy bees which produce healthy products which we consume. We are what we eat….

ZQB Virgin Queens: Unmated Queens for enthusiasts looking to outcross our survivor stock with their area drones. Virgin queens are installed same as mated queens, though once released,  will conduct mating flights then begin to lay (we recommend leaving undisturbed for minimum 3 weeks post installation) $20 + shipping

Enchanted Empress LongeviBees:   Prize Breeding Companion Queens- selected from our most resilient and productive stock.      Recommended for queen producers wanting to add tested survivor stock for enhancing genetic pool and for grafting for production queens.   $200/each

Best way to place an order is to call us or send a text at 505/929-8080 or to email ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com. We are terribly behind in our email inbox so if we do not respond right away, please don’t take it personally.

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