Breeding Projects

Current Bee Breeding Project: The Adaptive Bee Breeders Alliance

The Adaptive Bee Breeders Alliance was established in the spring of 2020 with a soft launch 5-hour webinar featuring experienced and up and coming bee breeders from across the United States. The recording of that webinar can be found here.

Since then, several grant proposals have been submitted to advance the official formation of the group which will include bee breeders and scientists working collaboratively to conduct field based research questions to better understand the diverse ecotypes/strains of adaptive and resilient bees, develop a best bee breeding management guide, and additional field assays for learning more about our diverse and dynamic genetics x environments interface. Additional webinars and field days will be scheduled soon so check back regularly. A quarterly zine is also in the works!

ABB Sp2021 flyer all glow 

Adaptive Bee Breeding Program Sp21

Over the past 15 years, we have initiated, facilitated, and participated in several collaborate bee breeding projects. The first was initiated in 2007 and was called the Southwest Survivor Queenbee Project. This project was funded by our first Western Sustainable Agriculture and Research (WSARE) Farmer Grant. You can read more about this project here. The second breeding project we initiated was called, The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative. You can read about it below.

The 2nd bee breeding project began in 2011 as an out-of-pocket collaboration between ZQB and several beekeepers in the mountains of norther New Mexico. In 2012, we were awarded our second grant from WSARE for a project called, The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative (RMSQB). This was an ambitious project which involved 9 beekeepers from Santa Fe, NM up to Fort Collins, Colorado- spanning close to 500 miles through 7 counties and 2 states. This cooperative was formed as an information and training exchange with the hopes of establishing regional resources and coordinators to share quality mountain honey bee stock.

In 2013, the RMSQB Cooperative focused on NM participants as the CO contingent branched off to develop their own programming. The NM contingent was awarded a New Mexico Product Advance and Marketing grant which brought in several top researchers from around the states to give lectures and provided for sampling and genetic analysis of honey bee strains around New Mexico. To read more about this project, visit here.

Currently, ZQB has evolved to focus on working with other producers around the nation and internationally. ZQB participates in the SlowBees-SlowFood International Network, and as an inaugural member of the American Honey Bee Germplasm Repository Project. ZQB has also participated in the USAID Farmer to Farmer Exchange. ZQB conducts and participates in diverse field research and also hosts interns each season. FREE Downloadable RMSQB Cooperative Bee Breeding Manual

Memories from 2007-2009:
WHO: Experienced Beekeepers
with *quality honeybees for participation in the project

There are different strains of honeybees and as we all know, they come from all over the world. Distinct races react differently to diverse environments. Some are good for colder climates, others for warmer. While others still are “genetically engineered” in the hopes of developing super-resistant stock to combat the various threats posed to honeybees, their skillful caretakers and our local and global agricultural industries.

What is THE SOUTHWEST SURVIVOR QUEENBEE PROJECT? It is a PRACTICAL APPROACH project networking area beekeepers for developing a regional and hearty, quality honeybee stock suitable to our diverse high-altitude southwestern climates and ecologies. NM and neighboring states are home to vast ranges and mesas, valleys, canyons and high plains. The Rocky Mountains chisel through providing high-desert, alpine and valley riparian ecosystems. Honeybees that can survive the intensity of each season within our regions are proving their genetics and should be propagated.

Zia Queenbee Company invited 5  interested, experienced beekeepers to participate in developing a line of hardy, regional stock of honeybees that are adapted to the rigorous climates and ecosystems of the Southwest and the Rocky Mountains by sharing their prize stock for Survivor Cross-Stock genetic pool development.

Colonies of interest included minimal medications, high production, hygienics, disease resistance and gentle. Zia Queenbee Co., Western Sustainable Agriculture Research Education and beekeepers throughout the Southwest and Rocky Mountain states thank you for your interest and participation.

Original profile: SWSQB_Questionnaire,


Our Goal: To create a sustainable resource for regionally fortified Queenbee stock from Honeybees chosen by Beekeepers for Beekeepers throughout the Rockies and the Southwest.

Our Mission: To establish regional sustainability, safe,
healthy agricultural practices, and production of quality honey and honeybee products.

Selected super colonies will become breeders – their grafted daughters will be mated with survivor colony drones. Participating beekeepers will integrate these Survivor Queens’ daughters/progeny into their hives, evaluate their effectiveness, as well as determine the future protocol and advantages/disadvantages of the project. The end result will establish availability and regional production of Honeybees chosen by Beekeepers for Beekeepers.

As stewards of the land, it is in our and our community’s best interest to collaborate on this opportunity. This collaborative effort will benefit all. The New Mexico State Dept. of Agriculture State Bee Inspector Mr. Greg Watson serves as the project technical advisor. Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research Education) has awarded 2007 grant monies to assist with the project. Additional proposals have been submitted for the continuation and elaboration of The Southwest Survivor Queenbee Project : 2008 Phase 2 and 2009 Phase 3. Zia Queenbee Company would like volunteers interested in participating to forward their contact information for initial surveys/reviews. Please send name, years beekeeping, types of colonies/queens and from where (i.e. Italian/ So. California), address, telephone/email to

Thank you and we look forward to developing this cooperative beekeeping project.

M.Kirby & M. Spitzig
Zia Queenbee Company