The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $25,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Melanie Kirby
Zia Queenbee Co.
Julie McIntyre
US Fish & Wildlife Service

Information Products


  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, parasite control, animal protection and health, grazing management, herbal medicines, homeopathy, livestock breeding, stocking rate
  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop, technical assistance
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Pest Management: disease vectors, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, physical control, prevention, sanitation, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, infrastructure analysis, leadership development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, community services, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, social psychological indicators, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Rearing Cooperative is a queen honeybee breeding and rearing exchange focusing on high altitude alpine survivor stock establishment and promotion. Promotion of naturally hearty pest and pathogen-resistant honeybee stock leads to regional fortification of area bee stock, which assists in assuring beekeeping sustainability (for bee products and services), along with food security for our surrounding communities. The cooperative is composed of nine beekeepers, six in New Mexico and three in Colorado. They are located in high-altitude locations spanning seven different counties across state lines.

    We plan to establish mountain survivor stock from our own apiaries and from introduced strains which have demonstrated longevity and hygienic abilities in order to select breeders from these tested colonies. Selected breeders will serve to provide appropriate aged diploid larvae for grafting survivor stock queenbees. We will conduct cross-matings for exchange and monitor the performance of grafted survivor stock lines. Integration and promotion throughout our own apiaries will strengthen each participant’s beekeeping endeavors, fortify our communities’ needs for sustainable and healthy pollination and allow sharing stock with our beekeeping neighbors.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    • Ag Professional/Facilitating Producer will hold an in-service training workshop at home farm in Truchas, NM for participating producers.
    • In service training will include overview of queen rearing process and discuss objectives of individual producers and how RMSQB Coop project will be integrated. A disc of initial manual draft will be distributed to each producer.
    • Establishment of website and blogs.


    • Mating nucs and apiaries established by each participating producer.
    • First grafts of nominated RMSQB Breeding Contenders.
    • Exchanges of survivor breeding stock will occur.


    • Site visits for NM participating producers.
    • Second grafts scheduled.


    • Second exchanges and site visits for CO producers.


    • Final exchanges of mated project queens swapped for overwinter testing.


    • Online meeting: Review of season- breeding contenders, successes/failures, obstacles and strategies.
    • Begin discussion for 2013 objectives, needs and timeline.
    • Presentation at WAS-Seattle, WA.


    • RMSQB representatives attend 2012 Apimondia Quebec–Canada for queen breeding information and to share their initial efforts.
    • Online meeting to share Apimondia Information with RMSQB Coop participants.
    • Advanced discussion of 2013 season development outlined.


    • Website/Blog updates.
    • Brochures developed for each producer to share with their constituents.

    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.