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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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Fluctuating Weather

March 16, 2013
by melanie

As we passed winter solstice and the days began to lengthen, the bees begin to shake off their winter slumbering. They will begin to clean out their lifeless sisters that have gathered on the bottom and they will also be scratching into their honey stores, some of which may be crystallized.

In our region, March is notorious for warming up so nicely, duping everyone- plantitas, animalitos and humanoids. And then, as the Rockies begin to melt, the cold air descends down into our valleys,  bringing late frosts and extreme temperature fluctuations.

The  difference between the warming, sunny days and the crisp, pinon smoke laden, frosty nights poses sincere adapatibility challenges for all. Bees will experience some days of such warmth that they will be out taking cleansing flights and begin sniffing around for crumbs- so to speak 🙂

This is a good time to have a good water source nearby for bees. Check their weight, if they feel light then anticipate offering them some supplemental food (whether that be moving their combs of clean honey closer to their “nest (beware of sharing honey between colonies if from deadouts with disease issues),” or bee tea (a homemade nectar-like tea that includes herbs )-see Supplemental Bee Feed post. Offering at the right time is critical- their internal clock and digestion faculties are on a seasonal calendar of their own that we as stewards must decipher.

We are braving the season humbly…anticipating Mother Nature’s curve balls; which will indeed come without warning.

We will post up pics as we get started this season. This middle of March day, Mark will be out going through our girls in the valley and assessing which are hungry and what other needs they may have. If he comes across any that are small, he will reduce their space so that they can regulate the temp swings a little better as the season commences. Once the bloom hits, they can then be given more space to expand, on their terms.

The weather is a changing…..




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2013 NM Organic Farming Conference Feb.15-16 in ABQ

February 11, 2013
by melanie

Keynote Speaker Mace Vaughn from the Xerxes Society will present info on promoting pollinators.

More info at:


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2013 Starter Nucleus and Queen Availability

February 6, 2013
by melanie

They do go fast! We are rather conservative in our bookings for starter nuclei in that we don’t want to overly stress our bees, ourselves and customers 🙂

So- We are closing the reservations list for starter nuclei orders. Once we get started with the season we can better determine if our bees can share more splits. If they can, we will! And we’ll post it on our blog and the area bee club listserves. This we won’t know until May.

However, we are taking reservations for mated queens with availability starting in mid June-September. $40 + shipping (marking included free of charge to help with tracking longevity!)

We will have virgin queenbees available starting latter half of April. $20/each + shipping

AND…we are willing to share some of our Breeding Companions this season and will know in April what we can share.

Thanks for your continued support….

We pray for more snow, a good spring and health for everyone!


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