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Sat. Feb. 22nd Queen Presentation in Alamogordo, NM 1-4pm

February 19, 2014
by melanie

Melanie Kirby & Mark Spitzig

Of Zia Queen Bees will be speaking Saturday February 22nd at the County Extension office in Alamogordo.  

Melanie and her husband Mark run the highly respected Zia Queen Bees in Truchas New Mexico. Zia is known for their “Survivor” queens. All of their breeding stock has endured through at least two winters and many through three or four. Melanie has been keeping bees professionally for 17 years and Mark for 14.  Last year, Melanie served as the President of the Western Apicultural Society of North America She is one of the founders of the Rocky Mountain Survivor Queen Bee Cooperative. She is also the editor of the monthly Kelley Beekeeping online newsletter (www.kelleybees.com). Mark has been further developing his LongeviBee Breeding line which will launch this summer 2014. 

 Together they will be talking about the roll of the queen bee in the hive as the core and primary force behind behavior and management and how it relates to choices of genetic selection.  Melanie and Mark allow Father Time and Mother Nature to test their honeybee stock- basing their selection on longevity- which serves as the umbrella trait for hive characteristics.  They are both full of enthusiasm for their profession and believe that “it takes a community to raise bees.”

 This is short notice and it will be well worth putting off what you had planned. They are squeezing us in between beekeeping trips to teach queen rearing in Jamaica and  in northern California.

 Cost is $10.00, it will run from 1:00pm until about 4:00 or longer if we can keep them.

The County Extension office is at the Alamogordo Fairgrounds at 401 Fairgrounds, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Please contact Rob Shepler to reserve your spot! 575-687-2343 or rob@theriver.com


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Charm School for Beekeepers! Intro to Apiculture 5 week course intensive offered

February 6, 2014
by melanie

Well, time has come for us to initiate the Charm School for Beekeeper series.

We’ve been offering specialized advanced queen rearing workshops for a handful of years now  (In Her Majesty’s Chambers) and we will continue to do so….

This 2014 year, we’ll be offering an Intro to Apiculture: Beginning Beekeeping 5 week course intensive and also topical workshops. Classes offered in both Santa Fe and Taos areas. 

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

2014 Santa Fe Intro to Api Spring Intensive

Class size limited to 10 students and there are only a few spots left

And 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: $450 (includes starter nucleus hive*)

When: Sundays starting April 20th, 2014

(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 the 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 with them. And for that, we are thankful to be able to share with you.







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Carnelian Center Valentine Benefit- Feb. 9, 2014 Dixon, NM

February 4, 2014
by melanie


carnelian center logo

The Carnelian Center, based in the picturesque village of Dixon in the Embudo Valley of northern New Mexico, has as its mission to provide the community with affordable holistic health care while nurturing the individual through art, education and cultural integration.

Their vision creates healing in a beautiful, peaceful setting with respect for the ecosystem and the preciousness of water…

For information on their annual benefit please click on the flyer

Carnelian Valentine flyer 2014

The Carnelian Center will soon be hosting Apitherapy sessions (Api=bee). More info forthcoming.

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In Field Hive Consultations available 2014 by M & M of ZQB-LongeviBees

January 22, 2014
by melanie

We are going into our 9th year of bee farming together. Individually we have 17 and 14 years of  professional beekeeping experience- collectively 31 years. Bringing together our developing skills from New Mexico, Michigan, California, Florida and Hawaii, we are better prepared to share these skills with others.

Our small farm has evolved over the past 9 years.

Initially we only offered queenbees.

Then we began offering starter nucleus hives in both Langstroth and Top Bar styles.

We then began offering workshops.

And now, we are offering individual, group and private consultations with beekeepers in our NM area.

We are also offering workshops outside of NM for clubs and groups. Call or email for information. 


Though we are located off the beaten path, we can, on occasion come to you and help you discover, decipher and determine what steps of stewardship can benefit your bees.

You have the option of having Melanie or Mark or both of us come to work with you alongside your hive revisions.

Our time is indeed limited but we are setting time aside this season to help our fellow beekeepers with their  bee management concerns, issues and queries.

If you are located at a distance, there will be a moderate travel fee imposed though we will try to schedule others in your area so that travel expenditures can be split among clients.

1 hour consultation: $40/consultant

2 hour consultation: $75/consultant

1/2 day consultation: $125/consultant

For those needing longer or frequent consultations, prices can be negotiated if prepayment is made.

Call or email with your name, location (town) and times and dates of potential visits. We can then coordinate and find a time that best accommodates you, us and your bees.


Call or email to discuss available dates and cost.

Thanks- M&M


Tel: 505/929-8080

Email: ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com



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Spring 2014: Survivor Queen Rearing Workshops in California offered

January 16, 2014
by melanie

We’ll be headed to northern California in late March to help a few of our beekeeping  buddies with their developing California “Surf-ivor” breeding projects.

While in the area, we will be offering presentations and a 1 1/2 day survivor stock queen rearing course intensive (In Her Majesty’s Chambers).

In Her Majesty’s Chambers: Intro to Queen Honeybee Breeding & Rearing, will run from 10am-6pm on the first day and from 9am- 1pm the second. Graduation bee beards will be offered

Students are encouraged to bring a sack lunch, their bee veils, smokers, and hive tools, a headlamp (for grafting), camera, and water bottle.

Click on this link for a slideshow of our queen rearing workshop offerings:

2014 CA Queen Rearing workshops

March 22-23, 2014  Gilroy, CA

In Her Majesty’s Chambers: Intro to Queen Honeybee Breeding & Rearing

Call  or email Dave Stocks for more information on registering and location details.

Email:    dave.stocks@yahoo.com             Tel: 408-605-3977



March 29-30, 2014 Palo Alto, CA

In Her Majesty’s Chambers: Intro to Queen Honeybee Breeding & Rearing

Hosting beekeeper Aiden Wing will be lending his apiaries and technical support for this workshop.


Email: wingsofnature@gmail.com


For additional information, email ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com

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2014 ZQB-LongeviBee Offered Products & Services

January 15, 2014
by melanie

For 2014 season, we will be offering survivor stock queen cells, virgins and Breeding Companions, Beekeeping courses, Pollination services and exquisite NM honeys and beeswax apiceuticals. 

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



Beekeeping Courses and registration information, visit Intro to Apiculture and Advanced Beekeeping courses blog posts.

*We are sold out of starter nucleus hives for 2014. Starter nucs are only available for those who register for our Intro to Apiculture: Beginning Beekeeping 5-week course intensive and for research programs.

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

Cost: Queen cells $10/each (pick up only in NM); 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 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 available products or services, please call us 505/929-8080 or email us at  ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com or longevibees@gmail.com.  

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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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