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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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SW Marketing Network Conference July 15-17, 2013

July 11, 2013
by melanie

11th Annual Southwest Marketing Network Conference:

Local Roots – Regional Connections

July 15-17, Alamosa and San Luis Valley, CO


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2013 Western Apicultural Society Conference- Registration open/ Speakers Confirmed!

July 6, 2013
by melanie


It’s almost time- the Land of Enchantment eagerly awaits everyone for their visit to New Mexico for this year’s 2013 WAS Conference, taking place October 16-19th at the world historic site of the La Fonda Hotel on the Santa Fe plaza. Full conference registration is $125 (early bird pricing through Aug. 31st), single day registration $60 and half day $35. Banquet and Tour additional. La Fonda is extending a very special discount conference room rate of $115/night (for duration of conference and also offered for 3 days +/- the conference).

For more information on conference registration and hotel discount visit: http://ucanr.edu/sites/was2/Conference_Information/Conference_Details/

The Conference theme, “Colony Consciousness: Working Together to Preserve, Protect & Promote Our Pollinators” is inclusive; meaning, it recognizes the diversity and adversities when stewarding bees, but also, just how important and integral it is for all facets of the industry to encourage cooperation and collaboration. Beekeeping involves not only the stewardship of bugs, but it also revolves around the “api-ecosphere”: where agricultural, scientific, medical, societal and artistic realms coexist and interact.

Everyone is welcome to come to our enchanted lands here in the southern Rocky Mountains to explore what others near and far are learning from their bees, and how to keep oneself educated on the various nuances that the scientific artistry of honeybee stewardship encourages. This year’s agenda is a full one. Speakers from around the globe will be coming to share their expertise and varied experiences as they pertain to honeybee genetics and breeding, diversified management and agriculture, alternative pollinators and hive designs, apitherapy, bee products, cooperative beekeeping, and of course current research into nutrition, health, environment and pest and disease issues.

Santa Fe is the oldest capitol in the USA. This Old World “City Different” is known for its art, cuisine and historical cultural impacts which include world famous artists, the best green chile in the southwest, and the indigenous and Iberian undertones of the Pueblo Native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors and settlers. The architecture alone in this world historic site is unparalleled and invites visitors to explore its plaza, its surrounding back country trails, and the cultures that thrive where the plains and the deserts meet the Rocky Mountains.

This year’s speaker list brings a swarm like no other to the high elevations of northern New Mexico. I have invited a diverse group of presenters who I feel are not only generous of their time, but willing to share and explore their research with those keen to learn more about who and how they are as bee stewards. This year’s line up includes several Doctors from doctrines of various and faceted studies including, Dr. Gordon Wardell of Parmount Farms (Alternative Pollinator Production- California), Dr. Eric Mussen (Honeybee Nutrition- UC Davis), Dr. Steve Sheppard (Honeybee Genetics and Importation Efforts- Washington State University), Dr. Gloria deGrandi-Hoffman (Bee Gut Flora research- University of Arizona/USDA-ARS Carl B. Hayden Bee Research Laboratory), Dr. Karen Stickler (Blue Orchard Bees- Idaho), Dr. Valerie Solheim (HealingBees.org- Colorado), Dr. Steve Rankin (NM Honey vs. MRSA trials- University of New Mexico Pediatrics), Dr. Voyce Durling-Jones (HoShinDo-Japanese Meridian Apitherapy, Santa Fe), Dr. Julie McIntyre (US Fish & Wildlife Pollinator Specialist, UNM-Albuquerque), Dr. Jay Evans (USDA Belstville, MD Bee Laboratory), and Dr. Jose Villa and Dr. Bob Danka (USDA-ARS Baton Rouge, Lousiana Bee Laboratory).

Additionally, we have respresentatives from deep in the fields as well including, Les Crowder (For the Love of Bees- Natural Top Bar Beekeeping, NM), Marygael Meister (DenverBees.org- urban community beekeeping and breeding), Liz and Terry Huxter (Terry’s Bees- VSH queen breeding- British Columbia, Canada), Kim Flottum (Catch the Buzz- Bee Culture Magazine Editor, Ohio), Sue Cobey (History of Bee Breeding, the New World Carniolan line, Washington State University), Bonnie Morse (BonnieBee, Marin Adapted Survivors, California), John Jacob (Old Sol Apiaries, Survivor Stock bees, Oregon), Jenny Bach (Bee Love Hawaii- Community Beekeeping/Education), M.E.A. McNeil (SuperOrganism.org, San Anselmo CSA, renowned journalist for American Bee Journal), Christi Heintz (Project ApisM.), and various NM and CO beekeepers including Mark Spitzig of Zia Queenbee Co. (Rotational Grazing/Breeding survivor stock), and Ed Colby (“The Bottom Board”- Bee Culture column), TJ Carr (Top Bar beekeeping/ABQ), Steve Wall (Buckin’ Bee- Santa Fe), and Lorraine Gray and Emigdio Baillon from Four Bridges Travelling Permaculture Institute and Tesuque Pueblo Permaculture Farm.

Even more names to look forward to hearing from are Jim Bach (Washington), Dr. Dewey Caron (Oregon), and keynote speaker, Dr. John Kefuss- Survivor Stock Queen Bee Breeder flying in from France! The agenda will commence October 16, 2013 on Wednesday afternoon with a pre-conference board meeting. Afterwards, we will open registration in the hotel lobby and then socialize in the hotel or mosey on down the cobble stones and socialize at the Marble Brewery- half a block down from the Hotel La Fonda.

October 17th and 18th (Thursday and Friday) will be full agenda days which will start with general sessions for the first half of the day and specialized block sessions in the afternoons. Specialized sessions on Thursday (Oct. 17) include: Breeding & Genetics and Planting for Pollinators. Friday (Oct. 18) specialized blocks include: Apitherapy, Bee Products & Marketing, Alternative Pollinators, Community and Urban Bee Stewardship, Reverential Agriculture, & Hive Management.

Thursday evening will include the grand opening of the art exhibit, “Tiny Heroes: Celebrating the Beauty of our Pollinators” featuring local Santa Fe artist, Kathryn Alexander and several additional regional artists of various mediums. Proceeds from this exhibit will benefit local pollinator programs such as The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative, which focuses on establishing and breeding regional honeybee stock and promoting educational outreach and training efforts to beekeepers near and far.

Friday afternoon, there will be a kid’s block where children can come visit the art exhibit, and also learn a little about pollinators and the important role they play. There will be a final board meeting later in the afternoon and a showing of a bee film pre-banquet. The annual Western Apicultural Society banquet will be held Friday evening off-site of the hotel. Location and menu are still to be determined but no doubt it will be affordably exquisite and feature local chefs cooking with local ingredients. The conference will also include a morning general session on Saturday (Oct. 19) in the morning highlighting the new generation of beekeepers and information on how to be supportive of those willing and able to carry on the torch for protecting, preserving and promoting our pollinators.

And finally, the conference will wrap up with a tour up The High Road of the El Camino Real which will make stops at the Sanctuario de Chimayo, Zia Queenbee Co. farm, and conclude with tastings at Vivac and Black Mesa Wineries. This tour will follow a 3,000’ elevational loop which winds through and up the juniper speckled foothills to the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range of the southern Rockies then follows the canyon down and saddles up next to the northern Rio Grande.

Exhibitors at the conference include Mann Lake, Ltd., Root Candles/Bee Culture, For the Love of Bees, Buckin’ Bee, Project ApisM., The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative, HealingBees.org, Beaver Plastics, and a handful more! There will be several authors on hand to sign their achievements as well. Additionally, for those staying a few extra days, you may want to consider attending the 6th Annual Growing Food & Justice For All Initiative Gathering, “Food is Medicine, Water is Life” being held in Taos, New Mexico.

Much will be missed if you choose not to attend this year’s Western Apicultural Society 2013 Conference; you will fail to be enchanted, and even more perplexing, is that you’ll miss one heck of an informative network from which to build a-new and upon for your own bee stewardship endeavors. The southern Rocky Mountains boast 7 out of the 8 climactic zones, fluent English and Spanish speakers and then some, AND, the warmest and most interesting of western hospitalities abound. Come experience the tri-cultural influences of the Native, Spanish and Anglo races and the woven energies they each have imparted onto the New Mexican psyche…for New Mexico is indeed not so new, and not so Mexico. :)

Beekeeping is extreme here in the arid high deserts and alpine mountains- hot and cold, like our day to night temperatures. Yet the people stay warm, and we welcome you with abrazos abiertas (open arms). Bienvenidos/Welcome and we hope you will join us this autumn in our beeloved Land of Enchantment.

Yours in Beekeeping- Melanie Margarita Kirby, 2013 WAS President

Email: ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com

Conference information visit: http://ucanr.edu/sites/was2/Conference_Information/Conference_Details/


Whether you travel by plane into Santa Fe proper or into the SunPort- Albuquerque International Airport, we recommend contacting La Fonda Hotel (Toll Free 800.523.5002) prior as they can schedule a shuttle for you ($25) with delivery to their hotel (WAS discount $115/night). If hotel bookings are full at La Fonda, overflow will be taking place at the Hilton Santa Fe ($125/night).

If you choose not to rent a vehicle nor take the shuttle, you can opt to take the NM RailRunner which has a connecting bus from the airport terminal to the train station (times vary so check well in advance to see if timing works for your flight arrival). Visit www.nmrailrunner.com for info on their airport schedule to and from Santa Fe stations. If train is taken north to Santa Fe, you can disembark at the downtown station, which is about 7 blocks from the hotel.

If you choose to rent a vehicle, you can leave the ABQ airport and merge onto I-25 northbound towards Santa Fe (approximately 55 miles). Follow I-25 North to Santa Fe, take the St. Francis (84/285) exit towards the downtown plaza. Follow signs to plaza and look for the Basilica- hotel is right across from the tall church.

If you rent a vehicle from the Santa Fe airport, you can take Airport Road, left on Cerrillos- and follow to St. Francis…then follow signs to downtown plaza and look for church. Hotel La Fonda website: www.lafondasantafe.com, Hilton Santa Fe website: www.historicplazahotelsantafe.com/. For more information on Santa Fe and New Mexico, visit www.newmexico.org/

WAS Conference registration tables will be behind the La Plazuela restaurant which is located in the interior atrium of the hotel lobby. Signs will be posted and hotel staff can also direct you to the conference areas. If you would like to make a contribution to the silent auction, WAS welcomes entries and appreciates your support!

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Pacific Northwest Treatment Free Beekeeping Conference July 26-28, 2013

July 5, 2013
by melanie

Pacific Northwest Treatment-Free Beekeeping Conference

Science meets Earth-Friendly Beekeeping
July 26-28, 2013

I’ll be attending and presenting at the upcoming Pacific Northwest Treatment Free Beekeeping conference at the end of the month.

This conference will be taking place in Forest Grove, Oregon and is being organized by Kat Nesbit, of Bliss Honeybees.

See link for full conference information, speaker list and agenda. http://www.blisshoneybees.org/Events.html

The goals for this conference are:
1) To explore through science treatment-free beekeeping
2) To gain hands-on understanding of techniques
3) To build community
4) To make contacts and resources for support after you return home; one way to stay in contact is through the 2013 Pacific Northwest Treatment Free Beekeeping Conference facebook page at www.facebook.com/honeybeefriends

Speakers include Dr. Tom Seeley- Honeybee Democracy, Kirk Webster-Champlain Valley Apiaries, Russian X Survivor Stock Queen Breeder from Vermont, Dr. Deborah Delaney-The Sustainability of Honey Bees: An Evolving Beekeeping Industry,  Les Crowder of For the Love of Bees in New Mexico, Dr. Lynn Royce from Univ. of Oregon….and many  more!

I’ll be doing a talk on rotational grazing with honeybees and also a couple of hands on workshops on grafting and handling of queenbees.


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Queen Rearing Workshop Durango, CO June 21-22, 2013

June 20, 2013
by melanie

I am coordinating with Tina of the Buzz Club- Durango beekeepers and will be putting on a queen rearing overview presentation and field practicum this weekend. Friday evening class will be an overview of the process and cycle. Saturday morning we will meeting in a bee yard and I’ll demonstrate the process of grafting, cell-building, making nuclei and harvesting and marking of queens.

From Tina @ the Buzz Club:

We are always happy to welcome people.  Our meeting Friday evening
the 21st will be at 7 PM at the Florida Baptist Church, 31296E Hwy
160, Durango.  It is on Hwy 160 west of the intersection of highway
172 on the south side of the highway, an intersection commonly known
as Elmore’s corner.  172 is the road to the airport.  Thanks,  T
My phone number is (970) 884-8190.  I am always happy to have people
call or email for more info on a meeting or the club.

Tina’s email is bee-longing@sisna.com

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Bee-Day Buzz Bash on the Mountain 6/29/2013

June 11, 2013
by melanie

Well….my better half is turning the big 5-0 this month…..and in an effort to force him to take a moment’s break and celebrate, we are going to throw a party!

For those who know us and would like to come and celebrate Mark’s 50th birthday, we’ll be celebrating on June 29th, 2013 at our home farm in Truchas- On the High Road. Click on flyer attachment for more details.

Soiree starts at 3pm (after Farmer’s Markets for all the hard working farmers and gardeners!) and will last through the evening…..

Plenty of homemade mead libations, barbeque and salads! Folks are welcome to camp out if they would prefer not to drive home. 

Please RSVP if you intend to come: ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com 

Thanks and let’s celebrate!

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2013 Nuc Pick up Update

June 2, 2013
by melanie

We are ending the month of May and beginning the month of June- which is now when the first batches of starter nuclei are ready for review.

We will begin flagging those that are ready and begin making contact with confirmed orders to schedule pick ups.

We do not anticipate having any extra at this time.

The slow spring start up, and continued drought conditions affect our bees’ ability to build up swiftly.

So- we are definitely on their schedule, AND only able to accomodate what they can. If we take too much, they will crash and we will be left with nothing to continue the cycle and to share next season.


Thanks for everyone’s patience and respect for the bees’ and Mother Nature’s schedules.


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April 2013 Spring Update

April 17, 2013
by melanie

We do indeed have our fair share of wacky weather here in the Land of Enchantment. The warming days inspire the buds to blossom and the bees are gaining momenting rearing brood…..and then we get thundersnow, and bitter cold nights descend again as the Rockies begin to melt bringing their crisp mountain air into the valleys and frosting out initial bloom. This is a real challenge for our bees and their ability to transition their needs between our day and night temperature swings is astounding. It is this challenge along with time and additional climate variables that test the bees and ultimately, determine the survivors.

The cold spells that are continuing to roll in along with the super high winds have necessitated a review and adjustment to our start schedule. Late frosts have indeed posed challenges on valley orchard stone fruit blooms but the bosque will begin to offer sweet pea, willow, wood rose, globe mallow, Russian olive and pasture blooms.  We will be conducting first graft, this Sunday- April 28th…close to 3 weeks later than we normally start.

We have been tested over the past 8 years every spring….anticipating starting and then learning the hard way that starting too early stresses the bees out immensely and adversely affects success so we wait….This season we are also starting out with less than we anticipated in hive numbers but those that did make it look superb. It is with this initial bloom that our bees are beginning to build up and rear drones. And for this season, as always, we will share what we can while also focusing on rebuilding our own numbers in order to follow the cycle again next year. This process is not only time consuming, but also requires patience, on us as stewards highly anticipating and exited for the season to get rolling, and for nature- to allow her to unfurl her pollen laden and nectar scented breezes which bring the bees nourishment and sustenance.

Anticipated first graft is now scheduled April 28th.
Virgin queens will be available starting May 10th.

First rounds of mated queens are used to fill our nuc orders.  Subsequent rounds are then available for purchase.
Right now, mated queen availability is open for early July-early September.

For Breeder Queen information- contact us diretly.
Limited availability summer 2013

If you have placed an order with us and have been invoiced, and made your deposit, your reservation is confirmed. If you have ordered and not recieved an invoice, then you can anticipate receiving one once we know better just how many splits we can get started with our available hives. Once we are sure that our bees can accomodate your resquest, then we will invoice.

We will make contact with reservation holders when it is time to schedule pick up…in late May/early June.
For more information, please email us at ziaqueenbees@hotmail.com or call 505/929-8080

…..we are a very busy family with hectic schedules so please anticipate up to a week turn around time for return correspondence.


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Taos County Economic Dev. Rancher & Producer Forum April 5-6, 2013

April 3, 2013
by melanie

Spring can be a tricky time of year, which is all the more reason to get out and mingle with other farmers before you’re too busy in your garden and your bees are swarming all over :)

We actually had thunder snow the other evening, which was tres cool to watch. Mark and I were returning from the valley after checking on our 3 year old breeders- and boy are we pleased with them. I will post pics soon because they were oh so lovely, great brood patterns and drones emerging….so we will start grafting April 10th!

This weekend, the Taos County Economic Development Corporation will be holding their annual Rancher & Producers Forum highlighting acequia and diversified farming and ranching developments and programs. They will have tours of their mobile matanza unit and also workshops on a variety of themes. Also included is a market and informational booths and a tour of their beautiful certified community kitchen which will offer some yummy foods for attendees.

I’ll be conducting an overview of beekeeping in northern NM and at high altitudes from 3:30-5pm on Saturday April 5th at this event. I am indeed looking forward to it.

Gas stipends are provided on a first come first serve basis, so no excuses….come up to Taos for the fresh high desert air, and perhaps we’ll get a little thunder snow storm to really kick in the beginning of spring!

More info at www.tcedc.org  and also on PDF -Spring 2013 Rancher-Producer Spring Market Program (flyer link)

Hoping for a bountiful spring bloom….


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The small steps we take….

March 28, 2013
by melanie

When I first decided to try to focus on bees as a career path, I didn’t anticipate ever owning or running a business, nonetheless a farm!

Eight years ago, when I convinced my partner Mark to come back to New Mexico with me, we didn’t anticipate the momentum with which we would be careening around blind corners. Neither of us has a business background and so it was with utter necessity that we looked to learn from qualified trainers and teachers. We are indeed still learning but I can declare that my initial and repeated interactions with WESST- a non-profit dedicated to providing much needed business skills training to budding entrepreneurs, has been positive and impactful.

Roseanna Perea and Bette Bradbury are indeed angels! And I thank them del fundo de mi corazon for sharing their expertise and their committment to struggling businesses owners. They have been so kind to include me on their website as a client success story.

I wouldn’t dare call myself a success, but an aspiring one! And as I age and learn, I realize just how fascinating the prospect of success is- as it would affect my family, my self- esteem, and my hopeful ambitions to better serve bee stewards and our community at large. I truly value WESST and their staff for their hard work in helping me, and my small farm, create a space and place for promoting our much needed and beloved pollinators!



Thank you WESST! Thank you Bette & Roseanna! Without you, I would still be figuring out what the heck to do with myself! :)


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