Southwest Survivor Queenbee Project

Final Report for FW07-032

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2007: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Melanie Kirby
Zia Queenbee Co.
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Project Information



Seven professional New Mexico beekeepers from throughout eight counties, ranging in altitude from 3900’ elevation to 9000’, participate in the project. We have successfully initiated the pooling of regionally fortified survivor queenbee genetics. Daughter queens, whose mothers were chosen by beekeepers for other beekeepers, were under observation and review. Upon completion of their successful overwintering of two years, they became eligible SW survivor breeders (spring 2009).

The project has successfully established a reliable, regional resource (a network of beekeepers) to perpetuate and participate in their natural hearty stock selection. Zia Queenbee Company and regional beekeepers from throughout the Rocky Mountains and other survivor producers from various parts of the country continue to express interest in continuing the project. We are not only pleased with the successful outcomes of the project but also with its widespread influence and benefits to the greater American beekeeping and American agricultural industries.


Our primary objective was the initiation and organizational network of cooperating beekeepers to establish a regionally fortified genetic pool of quality queenbee genetics.


Our project has yielded results beyond our expectations by making a substantial impact on the American beekeeping community. It has been instrumental in arousing the attention for not only the local and regional beekeeping communities, but also the attention of the national and international beekeeping community as to the possibility and availability of an establishment for sustainable and conscientious queenbee production.

The sharing of quality survivor stock and the production of survivor stock breeders has made diverse quality genetics available to other queen producers. Those who have dedicated their enterprises to producing quality unmedicated survivor stock have allowed more survivor genetics to be made available to an increased number of beekeepers from all over. Communication has taken place to coordinate additional phases of the project with various leading bee breeding experts and researchers.


This project has promoted local and regional sustainability by encouraging the establishment of reliable, reusable, and renewable sources for hearty and healthy queenbee stock. It promotes beekeeper cooperation that, in turn, allows beekeepers to be proactive in their establishment, in setting industry standards and in protecting the environment. This project has promoted exchanging quality stock among beekeepers from around the Rocky Mountains and the broader United States.

The practice of incorporating survivor genetics into beekeeper’s operations has improved economic conditions for beekeepers and producers while also protecting our regional resources and safeguarding against the introduction of unwanted pests and pathogens from foreign areas. These improvements in turn have enhanced the quality of life for the producers, their rural communities and society as a whole. The stock established does not need to be medicated and therefore all hive products are contaminant free, which is better for beekeepers, community members and society.


Our project has inspired and influenced various other committees in diverse regions to establish a similar survivor genetic pool for their area beekeepers. Existing survivor stock queenbee producers have made efforts to collaborate and share quality stock for production and dissemination to national customers.

Customers expressing interest in participating sent numerous email responses to Zia Queenbee Co. With the continued interest, we anticipate that this project can and will advance to additional levels of sustainability, resource management, farm and enterprise diversification, farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-institution relationships and land stewardship.


We recommend that this project continue and expand to include neighboring interest from regional producers, breeders and researchers. The sustainability of not only American beekeeping, but also of American agriculture, is dependent on the benefits that this sort of project manifests. The embodiment of reliable regional resources for naturally hearty queen honeybee stock is essential for area beekeepers as well as area farmers and ranchers in need of pollination for their crop production. Our project has established a renowned consideration for smaller producers and for those who look to enhance and protect honeybees conscientiously for our global communities.


Outreach presentations have been made at both the NM State Beekeepers Association annual meetings and the Colorado State Beekeepers Association summer and winter 2007 meetings.

Exhibits were presented at the 2007 Bioneers-Santa Fe conference and High Country Gardens Santa Fe Greenhouses Pollinators Day. Presentations were also made at the Sangre de Cristo Beekeepers Club in Santa Fe, The Flowering Tree’s Open House Permaculture day in Santa Clara Pueblo 2007 and 2008.

We also shared exhibits at the Dixon Studio Art Tour Mercado, hays Honey and Apple Farm Field Day 2007, Jemez Feast Day 2008, San Geronimo Feast Day 2008, Taos Labor Day and Fall Arts Festivals, and the Taos Community Farm and Field Center.

We also shared exhibits at the Chihuahuan Desert Field Day, and the NMSU Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Field Day. We offered two project-specific field days, one at Seeds of Change Sustainable Farm Research Center in el Guique, NM, and a second at ZBQ home farm for participants and area beekeepers.

We also presented at the 2007 Western Apicultural Society conference held in Tucson, AZ, and had a write-up published in their fall 2007 newsletter. We also published an article in The American Bee Journal trade magazine in March 2008.


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Participation Summary

Research Outcomes

No research outcomes
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.