Here’s an update on our bees:

Photos Courtesy of ZQB NorCal Collaborator- Wings of Nature Bees

Mark migrated with a portion of the ZQB flock (breeders and support hives) in early February to Northern California. Our girls awakened from their winter slumber to the lush coastal foothills off of Hwy 1 near Pescadero where they began to gather fresh pollens and nectars from flowing eucalyptus, rosemary, and brassica blends. Mark returned to NM to get a few more snowboard runs in (he also works as a nighttime snow groomer at the nearby ski hill).

Flash forward a month, and the bees have steadily been building so Mark then returned to Northern California to begin the process of setting up cell builders which serve as the nursery hives for grafted larvae (transferred larvae). These very young fertilized larvae (1st instar- day 3 recently hatched from eggs) are placed into these nursery hives for rearing queen bees. They are then fed copious amounts of royal jelly from their nurse bee attendants and developed into plump cocoons. After a week and a half- these cocoons are now ready to handle and are placed individually into their own homes- mating nuclei.

Once in their mating nucleus families (made from the building support hives), each virgin queen larva will metamorphosize through the pupa stage and emerge from her cocoon. They will each now begin to go on mating flights. Shortly after conducting their mating flights (within a week of emerging should weather stay stable), they will then commence laying their first brood (another week). This initial brood will be fed by the nurse bees and then capped at the end of that week. This begins the cycle of freshly mated queen magnificence.

We strictly adhere to a minimum 3-4 week post cocoon/queen cell installation to then check on these newly establishing queens. Interruption of this process can sabotage the establishment and also disrupt this critical period of emergence, mating, and laying. Mark and I will both be heading to our NorCal apiaries to check each queen, and begin the preparation to migrate back home with our flock and their developing next generation of ZQB x Wings hive families.

We anticipate bees being ready to pick up towards the end of the first week in May. We will know better come mid April what the timeline will be and then we will be able to begin to make contact to schedule pick ups. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we all get anxious and excited for the bee season to get into full swing. Making bees takes a community and more importantly, takes time. We are not able to make spring manifest faster no are we able to make the bees want to reproduce without respecting their own natural circadian rhythms and internal calendars- which are synchronized with nectar and pollen flows.

We’ll be in touch very soon to begin the scheduling process. If you plan to pick up at the farm, you will be contacted by Mark ( If you expressed interest for picking up bees in either Santa Fe or Albuquerque, you will be contacted by me (Melanie). Right now I am thinking that once we touch down from bees (we usually take a day to rest from driving all night), then we will begin distribution. For Santa Fe and Albuquerque pick ups, I will send you the addresses of the pick up location- it will be drive through style where you pull up, I locate your order on the list, and then I hand you your order and you load it in your vehicle and away you go to take your bees to their new homes. We have worked hard to streamline the pick up process this year in response to the pandemic so we appreciate your all’s cooperation. If you did not already express interest in picking up in Santa Fe or Albuquerque but would like to have your order delivered to the pick up site instead of picking up at the farm, please email me at

If you haven’t received a receipt for submitting your reservation deposit- do not worry. As Mark was out of town, he is now catching up with deposits and I will be working on receipts in batches. Please plan to have the remainder due at pick up and any delivery fees if you plan to pick up in Santa Fe or Albuquerque.

Thanks! M&M & the ZQBzzzzzzzzz 🙂