Hap-Bee New Year!
This year marks the 18th anniversary of Zia Queenbees Farm here in New Mexico and also the 10th anniversary of our collaborative early spring bee breeding projects in the Santa Cruz coastal mountains of Northern California. We receive inquiries about our bees, the timeline, and the process and so here's some info for the curious....
Due to our high elevation and the late frosts, rearing bees in the early part of the year in northern New Mexico isn't possible. Despite the warming temps in March which begin to thaw the mountain snows, all that cold air comes racing down the canyons into the valleys and April tends to chill again. We have learned the hard and expensive way that trying to breed bees too early in this part of the world is detrimental to the bees....and so, in 2011 we began journeying to Northern California to visit with other queen producers, share and learn from each other, and to share bee breeding stock.
That year we met an aspiring bee breeder and the following year, he invited us to bring some of our breeders to his mating yards. For 5 years we bred some early season queens there and helped him to develop his Northern California survivor stock. We kept all of those initial queens for evaluation and began testing them here in northern New Mexico to see if they demonstrated adaptive behaviors that were conducive to our environment. To our delight, they were and continue to be. Then in 2017, we began sharing these early season bred queens (which are Northern NM queens mated with Northern California drones in the Bay Peninsula Preserve).
This year marks the 5th anniversary of these shared queens and we continue to breed and share them with beekeepers here in New Mexico for those wanting bees earlier than our local climate will allow for successful breeding. We go out to the preserve starting in late January with some of our breeders so they can fatten up on the eucalyptus and rosemary and wildflower nectar flows to begin rearing queens in March. It is an arduous and expensive process vs. flipping bees from larger producers whose breeding programs may not be conducive to handling the diversity and adversity of our New Mexican landscapes.
Got questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 505.901.2102 or 505.929.8080
Stay warm and wishing everyone a very healthy and happy 2022! Bees as Seeds: Within itself, every seed has a story, formed over millennia- with the power to nurture and adapt; and the magnificence to create life, food, and medicine for the world.