Chosen by Beekeepers for Beekeepers
A conscientious and practical approach to establishing a quality resource for regionally hearty honeybee stock
Melanie Kirby from the
Land of Enchantment
New Mexico, USA
Mark Spitzig from the
Lake Superior shores
Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Superior Honey Farms + Zia Queenbee Company
By selecting and breeding off of Regionally fortified Survivor stock,
Beekeepers will expend less financially while incorporating sound, quality genetics into their livestock management.
Incorporating holistic methods adds value to our commodities:
Promotes local, regional, national and global sustainability;
While also recognizing responsibility and reverence for our natural resources, environment and landscape heritage.
*A practical approach
* Networking of area beekeepers
*Establishing a reliable resource for quality livestock
* Routine introduction of diverse national stock
*Thrive and survive test ( thru min. 2 winters)
* Regionally selected survivor stock:
Honeybees chosen by
Beekeepers by Beekeepers
2007: Phase 1
Initial Southwest Survivor Queenbee Project set-up in New Mexico
Participation by 6 individual professional beekeepers from 6 different counties ranging from South to North (400 mile range) and from
3,900 feet to 9,000 feet elevation
Technical advisor: NMDA Bee Inspector
Zia Queenbee Co.
P.O. Box 490 Dixon, NM 87527
Sparrow Hawk Farm
Ken Hays/ Hays
Honey and Apple Farm
A Bee Honey Co.
Taos Honey Trader
Mark Spitzig & Melanie Kirby
Zia Queenbee Co. &Superior
Bosque Farms (4800’)
Truth or Consequences
Edgewood & Belen
Carniolan- Russian X:
Blue Russian and
Supergirls 1 and 2
Heidi & Edith
Italian Swarm X:
Las Cruces (3900’)
U.P. of Michigan (650’)
Ital , M. Superior,
Povi, Capilla, Izzy
Les Crowder of Sparrow Hawk Farm and
Top Bar Ecoversity fame reviews larva for upcoming cross-stock graft
Steve Wall of Buckin’ Bee (Santa Fe) displays a graft of his Italian breeder queen Edith.
These queen cells will mate with ZQB drones
Jason Goodhue and his daughter Angelina of World Famous Taos Honey shares future stock with Mark
(left) of Wild
Mountain Honey in
Colorado, takes a break from grafting. Derrick grafted his first
(Harlow F ₁ ) in July
We know that particular races are more pest/disease resistant while others may be more susceptible to certain afflictions.
It is true that “bottle-necking” of honeybee genetics here in the
USA has been and will continue to be a problem and threat to the apiculture and agriculture industries nationwide without increasing availability to genetically diversified quality stock.
By respecting Mother Nature’s cycles and creating systems in which livestock is managed conscientiously, a livelihood of quality is maintained.
Promoting healthy agricultural practices enhances quality of life for all
As Stewards of our Lands, Resources and Health,
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE BE PROACTIVE
IN RESEARCHING AND IMPLEMENTING RESPECTFUL MANAGEMENT
PRACTICES AND TECHNIQUES.
SELECTING for GENETIC VARIABLES:
2 year “Thrive and Survive” regiment
Open mating variables
Diverse Survivor Drone Breeder Saturation
Diverse Sister and
New Mexico Dept. of Agriculture Bureau of Entomology and Nursery Industries
Assistant Bureau Chief , Mr. Greg
Watson serves as our technical advisor. He is also the NM State Bee
Inspector. Here with Mark, he inspects
Breeder colonies and hive temperament.
Melanie grafting from Varroa resistant stock
Mark displays grafted cells of Breeder Lulu from
Ed Costanza of A Bee Honey Co.
Mating Nuc SizeExtended period of non-disturbance - Diverse Drone Stock Saturation
Cornell University (2006, December 11).
Queen Bee Promiscuity Boosts Hive
Cornell University (2007, July 20).
Genetic Diversity In Honeybee Colonies
Boosts Productivity. http://www.sciencedaily.com
Public Library of Science (2007, October
10). For Honey Bee Queens, Multiple
Mating Makes Her Attractive To
2008: Phase 2
Extend invitation to similar zones:
Colorado, Utah, Idaho
Evaluate 2007 Cross-Stocks and begin 2008 Cross-Stocking
Consultations requested from various institutions for Phase 3 development
2009: Phase 3
Open mated Survivor Cross-Stocks and II
SW Survivor Breeders are made available to participants and the greater public as well as to queen producers
Share 2007 Initiated Cross-Stock Breeders interstate with regional queen producers.
Advanced Protocols requested involving national bee laboratories and researchers
By sharing information and implementing practical plans and techniques, we promote the healthy sustainability and longevity of American agriculture while also revitalizing our individual farm industries
Through Cooperative Extension and development, project design incorporates scientific inquiry and analysis while promoting
Applied Research directly affecting farmers in the field.
Finding Balance With Modern Science
Natural Systems and the Real World
As Stewards of our Lands,
Resources and Health, it is imperative for us to be proactive in researching and implementing sustainable management practices and techniques to better secure our industry and our livelihoods.
• Practice Pro-Active Management
• Keep Researching, Reading and Sharing
Whether working with a horizontal or vertical system, unforgettable key notions include:
Regardless of container, the beings therein are alive & constitute an organism; a.k.a. LIVE-STOCK, and should be managed conscientiously.
Means practicing conscientious management: acknowledging and complimenting Mother Nature’s own cycles
Natural does not equal “hands off” attitude
Maximizing Mother Nature’s own cycles while respecting health of honeybee livestock
If opposed to supplemental feeding, then it is responsibility of beekeeper to move their colonies to suitable forage .
Timely management is recommended
If bees fall ill, responsibility of beekeeper to research and implement safe methods for control
Care should be taken to neither ignore contaminate your honeybee livestock; to not compromise their nutrition and to not contaminate their hive products.
• Environmental and
While we keep our bees in as many “Organically Certified” farms as possible-
We do not claim our honey to be “Organic”. We have control over what we add to the bees. Yet, we do not have complete control over where they fly.
Thus, unless one is completely isolated and there are no environmental contaminants in the air, in the water, in the soil, on the plants, and in their hive- then the term “Organic” should not apply.
However, the term “Natural” definitely does.
• Many Paths, Many Teachers
Mother Nature, the Honeybees themselves and other beekeepers
• History and Research
The Langstroth system is over 150 years old.
What is modern is our thinking.
• Personal Preference
REMINDER: regardless of container, the way we manage and respect the organism contained is what is vital. Let us work together to become true Bee-Stewards within both systems.
True beauty is in our diversity .
Being a Purist is negotiable-each has their own definition, whether you agree or not.
While perpetuating simple methods, it is also pure to promote efficiency rather than redundancy
Holistic management defines itself as: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
The state question in New Mexico is, “ Red or Green chile?”
Some opt for one or the other and then there are those of us who request both (also termed as “Christmas” or “Rainbow”)
Beekeeping is a creative art in that there are many paths of this animal husbandry. Finding a mode of operation that works for you and your bees will be unique. Like most things, success through moderation does apply. By not boxing yourself into one type or kind of system and management; and remaining flexible, and open, and inspired, interchange and cooperation can occur.
Practicing pro-active supplementation can enhance the immune systems of honeybees while also providing balanced nutrition.
Many of us take vitamins or herbs to supplement our diet- the same principles can be applied to animal husbandry.
Top bar hive body with screen bottom for Varroa Mite control and ventilation
A home recipe pollen patty was given to the bees along with a
Coconut grease patty containing essential oils in the bottom of a Top bar hive.
Mechanical Varroa Mite
Control Method in TB
The DOWDA method
Application of Powdered Sugar with the use of a screened bottom.
One can use a sticky board underneath to get a mite count. The screened bottom can then be sealed or diminished in size by closing off with a piece of wood (from underneath) to avoid drying of brood (arid climates) and in winter.
We use a mix of 4:1 powder sugar to garlic powder
Space Top Bars apart and shift enough powdered sugar to fully coat all the bees
This method of Varroa mite control does not control mites in sealed brood.
This can be used when needed and also as part of routine Fall/Spring management.
Top Bar “Nursery” in a Langstroth Box
box courtesy of Rosy Verdile,
Christ in the Desert Monastery
Recycled pieces of Duragild and Pierco used
Adds to straightness and sturdiness of the comb built for ease of transport and for strengthened brood frames.
The recycled pieces are attached to 19” l x ½” w wooden top bars in halves so as to accommodate their removal and re-attachment to diversely sized top bars and top bar hive bodies.
The recycled Pierco strips are screwed into the top bar and can be unscrewed
The recycled duragild is attached with beeswax to the Pierco strip to extend the comb “guide”
Four is the sacred number of the
Zia Pueblo sun symbol and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle.
North- South- East- West
Adult & Elder
Autumn & Winter
Dawn, Day, Dusk & Night
ZQB believes that with life comes four sacred obligations one must develop: a strong body… a clear mind… a pure spirit… to and a devotion … to lift honey boxes after 18 hours work endure the sticky sweet stings to the welfare of honeybees
“Beekeeping is truly a humbling profession for me. I am routinely inspired by my many mentors: the honeybees, Mother Nature and numerous beekeeping and non-beekeeping acquaintances. The mystery is the allure” Melanie M. Kirby
United States Peace Corps
1997-1999 Agriculture Sector
Beekeeping Extensionist Volunteer- Paraguay S.A.
Center for Human Potential
Beekeeping Extensionist Technical Trainer – Paraguay S.A
Commercial Beekeeping Experience
Hawaiian Queen Big Island, HI (2000)
Kona Queen Big Island, HI (2000-2004)
Honey Land Farms Florida (2005)
Zia Queenbee Co. &
Superior Honey Farms
Let us learn from each other and continue to share beekeeping!