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2015 Nucs Ready!!!

May 23, 2015
by melanie

Hey Folks, we appreciate everyone’s patience with the process and our bees are even more grateful as we’ve given them time to get established.

We will begin reviewing our initial rounds this coming week- and then make contact to schedule pick ups.

As we review nucs we look for several indicators:

Did she successfully mate?

How is her laying posture?

How are their food stores?

Are they healthy?

Are they ready to go to their new homes?

Once we determine that they are ready- we flag them and begin making contact with those who made reservations.

After filling confirmed orders, if we have extras, we will post it on this blog and also make contact with those on the wait list.

Being that it has been a rather volatile spring, we are hopeful that the girls were able to mate successfully. If our first rounds prove otherwise, no worries, we have additional batches that will be ready each week for our review.

We strive to offer and produce healthy, resilient and productive honeybees from our proven survivor stock- whose heritable traits of longevity, pest/disease resistance, gentleness and productivity have been carefully chosen and bred for for over 15 years (10 years here in the rugged topography of our enchanted lands of NM).

Please know that we adhere to a very strict rearing protocol to ensure that the bees and their queens that you procure from us are of the utmost health and demeanor. As such, we get less rounds per season; but what we do produce is of the highest quality. We also make contact with those who have placed reservations in the order that they were received to remain fair.

Also remember, when scheduling pick ups, we recommend either an early morning (by 9am) or near sundown pick up so as to capture all foragers. Nucs will be in reusable, lightweight, weather resistant, vented transport boxes for ease of relocation.

We appreciate everyone’s support and look forward to continuing to serve our local, regional, national and international constitutents for another decade plus.


Melanie Kirby


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2015 Intro to Apiculture Beekeeping Intensives in Taos & Santa Fe Starting Mid May

April 12, 2015
by melanie

field practicum

4-Saturday Field Practicum Course starts May 16 @ Tierra Drala Farm in El Prado-Taos

Taos Intensive 2015

& also offered 4-Sunday Field Practicum Course starting May 17 @ Plants of the Southwest in Agua Fria- Santa Fe

SF Intensive 2015

Course Syllabus Includes:

Honeybee Biology** Plant/Bloom Cycle** Seasonal Management** Hive Products & Harvesting** Overwintering** Apiary Plans & Strategizing Stewardship** Native Pollinator Integration

Courses taught by Mark Spitzig & Melanie Kirby of Zia Queenbees Farm & Field Institute, who each have been keeping bees professionally for close to 20 years.

COST: $250 (includes all 4 classes)

Add $225 for a starter Langstroth nucleus of locally bred bees (+ $30 for Top Bar or Warre custom conversions).

To Register- Email us at ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com

or call Tel: 505.929.8080

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2015 nuc, queen y mas pricing

March 2, 2015
by melanie

Daddy needs me to tighten the straps on this load of spring boxes.

UPDATE: We are sold out of starter nucs at this time. Once we begin our rearing calendar, should we have extras to share, we’ll post it on our blog. Reminder: All starter nucs are available for pick-up only from our Truchas, NM home farm.

We are taking names on a waitlist. Email ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com and enter nuc waitlist in the subject line. Send us your name,  kind of nuc(s), and a contact telehone to reach you should we be able to accommodate your request.

For 2015 season, we will be offering:

survivor stock Langstroth starter nucleus hives (and modified top bar & warre nuclei),

Virgin & Mated Queenbees,

Enchanted Empress Breeding Companions,

Beekeeping courses,

Pollination services,

& exquisite NM honeys and beeswax apiceuticals

  • (royal jelly- including N-chromosome RJ,
  • raw propolis, propolis capsules, propolis tincture, propolis salve,
  • lip balms, body balms: rejuvenation, booboo, bebe,
  • and hand dipped taper candles and exquisite beeswax pendants, mobiles and arts.

We are in the process of revamping our website and adding an online store for ease of procuring our bee products. This new site will launch within the next few weeks!


Pollination Services in NM, please contact Mark at 505/929-8080.

Beekeeping Courses and registration information, visit Charm School for Beekeepers &  Intro to Apiculture and Advanced Beekeeping courses blog posts. To register for 5 week intensive (scheduled at Plants of the SW in Santa Fe, starting Sundays in May), email us at ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com; Cost, $250 course instruction ($475 with locally produced Langstroth starter nuc, $505 w/ top bar-warre nuc).  

Virgin Queenbees (Un-Mated) bred from our diverse survivor stock will be made available latter half of April-September.

Virgin Queenbees from 2-year old Breeders are $15/each + shipping.  Virgin Queens from 3-year old Breeders are $19/each + shipping. If located nearby, pickup can be scheduled. For quantity orders, discounts are available.

Enchanted Empress Breeding Companions (Mated Queenbees) that have been grafted from selected 2 and 3 year old Mother Breeders and bred with selected 3 year old survivor Mother-Drone breeding stock in our high mountain apiaries will be available starting in June- September. If you are a producer and are interested in specific base lineages, please contact us to make a reservation.

Cost: $200/each- Marking included free of charge and clipping (free) available upon request. Cost includes USPS Express 2-day shipping insured.

If you are interested in our apiceutical products, please visit our new online store, launching in mid February! 

Please call/text us 505/929-8080 or email us at  ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com

**Note: we are a working farm and thus are mostly in the field. Office hours are midnight oil burning hours so it may take a few days for us to respond to your phone message. Text/email for faster response time.

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Sound Apitherapy- Free lecture Sun 2/22 in Dixon w/ Healingbees.org

February 18, 2015
by melanie

healing bees


The Beehive Effect

Come to a free lecture on The Beehive Effect: Sound Apitherapy with Dr. Valerie Solheim, this Sunday- February 22, 2015 from 11am to noon at the Carnelian Center. Dr. Solheim has been researching the positive effect of subtle energy fields on honeybees since 2008. Her findings indicate that hives maintained in high energy fields (naturally selected by wild bees) are healthier; and recordings from within are not only greatly beneficial to the bees, but to our bodies and the environment. See attached flyer for more info. Donations accepted for the Carnelian Center. Visit www.healingbees.org.

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No. Cali Charm School for Beekeepers workshops March 2015

February 17, 2015
by melanie

ZQB CA 2015 spring workshops

NORTHERN CALI CHARM SCHOOL FOR BEEKEEPERS- Learn how to become an engaged honeybee steward.

We’ll be heading to Wings of Nature (www.wingsofnaturebees.com) to conduct some workshops with our buddy Aiden Wing in the hills above Palo Alto, CA this March.


Download the PDF >



SATURDAY March 21, 2015: IN HER MAJESTY’S CHAMBERS- ALL DAY Class & Field Practicum

http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/ 4e4449794d5459354e7a553d0d0a&blogview=true

The queen as heart of the hive- introduction to small scale queen raising

COST: $175 includes manual, tools, class & field instruction



Making medicinal apiceuticals for health and wellness w/ honey, propolis & beeswax. COST $75


SATURDAY March 28, 2015: IN HER MAJESTY’S CHAMBERS- ALL DAY Class & Field Practicum

The queen as heart of the hive- introduction to small scale queen raising COST: $175 includes manual, tools, instruction

http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/ 4e4449794d5459354e7a553d0d0a&blogview=true


SUNDAY March 29, 2015: 2nd Step Beekeeping Field Practicum- 1/2 day

Learn adv. handling techniques, splitting, & hive health assessment COST: $75


To register- email us at ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com or call us at 505.929.8080

April 2014 cover shot- Aiden Wing of wingsofnature.com with his first 2014 batch of queen cells- Palo Alto, California

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ZQB presents Buzzin’ of Bees at NM Org. Farming conference Feb 20-21st in ABQ

February 15, 2015
by melanie

We’ll be presenting a workshop on local honeybee production at the upcoming NM Organic Farming Conference which takes place Feb. 20-21st at the ABQ Marriott Pyramid hotel. For more info on the conference and to register visit: www.nmfarmtotable.org

For the full program visit:http://www.farmtotablenm.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2015-Organic-Conference-final.pdf

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference

organic-farmingAbout the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference The Southwest’s Premier Conference for Organic Agriculture

Organized annually through a collaboration between Farm to Table,  the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program, and the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, the Conference provides producers and researchers from around the Southwest an opportunity to share their experiences and expertise.

Vital information is shared to help organic agricultural producers make important decisions in running their existing farm and ranch operations or in starting a new one.

The Conference offers a vast array of workshops covering many topics and makes available exhibition space for a wide range of products and services. Attendance has grown to over 650. CEUs (Continuing Education Credits) are available.

The goal of the Conference is to provide a place to bring organic growers in the region together to explore and learn the unique aspects of the Southwest. The Conference also serves to reduce isolation by providing a forum to share innovative ideas and best practices. “Coach” Mark Smallwood, Executive Director of the Rodale Institute is the keynote speaker for the 2015 Conference.  Recent noted speakers have included Mace Vaughan of Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program, renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin, Bu Nygrens co-owner and Purchasing Manager of Veritable Vegetable and many others.

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Modern Farmer article on ZQB’s survivor stock breeding program

February 14, 2015
by melanie

Here’s a nice article that Santa Fe Science writer Katie Mast wrote on our survivor breeding program.


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Angels of Agriculture video presentation w/ Mel

February 9, 2015
by melanie

Here’s a 7 minute video that was recorded in 2012 at a Pecha Kucha Taos Food Edition night that I participated in.

For those unfamiliar, Pecha Kucha is a Japanese term for “chit-chat”. Presentations in PK nights are displayed in 20 slides at 20 seconds/slide…which for a talker like me, was quite a challenge but very fun to get my message out in just a few minutes.


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NMBKA presents Dr. Marla Spivak Feb 6-7, 2015 in ABQ

January 20, 2015
by melanie

NM Beekeepers Assoc. Annual Meeting with Marla Spivak

Kosmos Performance Space 1715 5th St NW – Albuquerque Events

Date/Time Date(s) – 02/06/2015 – 02/07/2015 All Day

Location Kosmos Performance Space

The New Mexico Beekeepers Association invites you to join us for our Annual Meeting on February 6, 2015, noon-5 pm and February 7, 8:30 am- 3:45 pm. with Guest Speaker, Dr. Marla Spivak in Albuquerque, NM. Admission is free, but we encourage family membership to the NM Beekeepers Association for $30 per year.

The guest lineup also includes:

  • Beth Conrey, President of the CO Beekeepers Association and Owner of Bee Squared Apiaries. “There’s Plenty of Money in Honey”
  • Ryan Hiles, NM Department of Agriculture, Entomology and Nursery Industries, “Report from the NM Apiary Inspector”
  • Loretta McGrath, Pollinator Partners Director
  • Ken Bower, “Tracking Pollen Sources in your Area”
  • Darren Jewell, hive removals

This event also features information about keeping bees in New Mexico, vendors, artisans, giveaways and the business meeting for their Association.

Please bring honey samples to share from your area of the state.

Kindly RSVP or send a note to secretary@nmbeeekeepers.org so that we can be sure our meeting hall is big enough.

Schedule of Events

Friday, February 6, 2015 12:00-1:00 pm Registration 1:00-1:15 pm Introductions 1:15-2:30pm Ryan Hiles, NM Department of Agriculture (NMDA), Entomology and Nursery Industries Division, State Survey Coordinator, “NMDA Apiary Updates and Announcements” 2:15- 2:30 pm Break 2:30- 3:15 pm Loretta McGrath, “Protecting Pollinators in New Mexico: Cultivating Allies and Enhancing Habitat” 3:15-4:15 pm Break 4:15- 5:00 pm Marla Spivak, “Good News from the University and State of Minnesota” 6:00 pm Art gallery opening, 6th Annual People’s Show, Factory on 5th

Saturday, February 7, 2015 8:30-9:30 am Swap meet/ Registration 9:30-10:00 am Introductions/ President Jessie Brown 10-10:45 am Marla Spivak, “From Propolis to Pesticides: Research at the University of Minnesota MN Bee Lab” 10:45-11:30 am Business Meeting 11:30- 1:00 pm Lunch 1:00- 1:30 pm Announcements from local groups 1:30-2:00 pm Darren Jewel- Removing Hives 2:00-2:15 pm Break 2:15-2:45 pm Ken Bower, “Tracking Pollen Sources in Your Area” 2:45-3:00 pm Break 3:00-3:45 pm Beth Conrey, “There’s plenty of money in honey”

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Marla Spivak’s interest in bees began when she worked for a commercial beekeeper in New Mexico in 1975. Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Her research efforts focus on protecting the health of all bees, breeding bees for their natural defenses against diseases and parasites, promoting sustainable beekeeping practices, and propagating floral rich and pesticide-free landscapes to support the nutrition, health and diversity of bee pollinators.

Beth Conrey has an MBA from the University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Management. She owns Bee Squared Apiaries, a 60 hive beekeeping operation. Bee Squared produces chemical-free honey, hand rolled beeswax candles and quality soaps. She is president of the Colorado State Beekeepers Association and the Western Apicultural Society. She sits on the Board of the Pollinator Stewardship Council (PSC) and People and Pollinators Action Network (PPAN).

Loretta McGrath directs the Pollinator Partners Program at Farm to Table, provides education and outreach on pollinator conservation strategies, and has been a top-bar beekeeper since 2006. For over 20 years, Loretta has been a college educator and sustainability leader and consults with local non-profits on projects to support local food system development, healthy human communities and living systems. Since 2007, Loretta has been teaching courses in sustainability studies and environmental ethics at Santa Fe Community College and has been a consultant with Farm to Table since 2008.

Ken Bower has had a passion for growing plants and vegetables since his youth. Living in Santa Fe for the past 14 years, he and his wife created Eldorado Windy Farm, a suburban home farm where they grow vegetables, herbs, lavender, fruit trees, berries and many varieties of flowering plants. Ken is also a beekeeper and active member of the Sangre de Cristo Beekeepers Association. Ken has an undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in vocational agriculture as well as a Doctorate in Education. He worked in the field of public education for over thirty years as a biology teacher, school counselor, assistant superintendent and also taught at the university level. He completed the Master Gardener course in 2001, sells his lavender products and beeswax at the Eldorado Farmer’s Market and assists friends selling vegetables at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. For the past couple years Ken has been actively recording the flowering schedules of plants in the Eldorado area to determine which pollens are most sought after by his bees.  He also continues to give presentations locally on fruit trees, bees and home gardening.

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Charm School for Beekeepers- Intro to Api & Next Level…

January 18, 2015
by melanie

Charm School for Beekeeper series:

This 2015 season, in celebration of our 10 year farm anniversary, we’ll be offering several levels of beekeeping courses from beginning beekeeper to advanced bee charmer!

  •  Intro to Apiculture: Beginning Beekeeping 5 week course intensive and also topical workshops. Classes offered in both Santa Fe and Taos areas.

COST: $250 course instruction (class meets 1 weekend day for 4 hours for 5 consecutive weeks); $475 with locally produced Langstroth starter nucleus hive (which includes 4 combs of bees, brood, a mated survivor queen and some food stores in a reusable weather resistant transport nuc box).

Below is Santa Fe, New Mexico class info. Taos class info will be posted shortly.

20145 Santa Fe Intro to Apiculture Spring Intensive

Includes over 20 hours of course instruction (class and field) covering the honeybees’ seasonal cycle, lifecyle, biology, equipment, vertical and horizontal hive designs, seasonal management, pests & diseases, harvesting hive products y mas.

Cost: $475 (includes starter nucleus hive*)

When: Sundays starting in May.

(start date dependent upon weather conditions- may need to be adjusted accordingly).

10am-2:30pm (with 1/2 hour lunch break)

Where: Plants of the Southwest on Agua Fria in Santa Fe, NM.

Who: Mark Spitzig & Melanie Kirby- Professional Apiculturists

Students will participate in theory and field practicums learning to work with local bees, to produce local bees.

Lots of hands on sessions. We do not call ourselves experts, but rather lifelong students to the scientific artistry and the artistic science of honeybee stewardship. We hope that our small but deliberate contributions to pollinator stewardship will promote a healthy environment and healthy living for our children and future generations.

We appreciate the increased interest in beekeeping. Beekeeping is a humbling endeavor. Honeybees are full of wonderment in their nuances and enlightening industriousness. We are thankful for being able to learn from them. And for that, we are thankful to be able to share with you.

The Next Level: intermediate/advanced classes on more nuanced management and harvesting techniques. Classes start in May and will run from 3-5pm on Sundays at Plants of the Southwest in Santa Fe, NM; and in Taos (location & time TBD).

In Her Majesty’s Chambers: two day intensive on breeding and rearing survivor stock honeybees for backyard and club to professional applications.  July & August workshops offered- dates to be announced soon. Location- ZQB home farm in the beautiful mountain village of Truchas, NM on the High Road to Taos.

To register or for more information, email us at ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com




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