Posts Tagged ‘Zia Queen Bee’

Almost bee time!

My two topbar bee hives

I have both my hives set out and ready for the bees. I have them facing Southeast so the  sun will warm them up in the morning and they can get an early start on foraging.  I also nestled them in against the pinons and junipers to protect them from the winds. I think this will be an ideal site for them.

This year I ordered early so I know I will be getting bees.  I purchased one nuc from Zia Queen Bee in Truchas, NM ….. about half way between Santa Fe and Taos.  The other nuc will be coming from Steve Wall, who has about 100 hives in and around town….and who lives just down the road from me. He sells honey at the Farmers’ Market as “Buckin’ Bee“.

Steve Wall at the Farmers' Market

It’s early spring here and the queen is busy building up brood.  As the trees and other spring flowers bloom, the bee population in the hives begins to expand rapidly and that is the time beekeepers make their divides. I should be getting my bees in May!

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After getting your beehive, getting the bees is the next step.   There may be local beekeepers that will sell some of their bees. Usually they don’t have many extra, so they sell out quickly.  I ordered some from a local beekeeper that sells honey at the farmer’s market, and he will have them for me in May; five combs of bees with a young healthy queen.  That will get me started.  But they also come with a top-bar hive, which means I now have two hives!  I want to get local bees, so I inquired from a beekkeeper north of Santa Fe; Zia Queen Bee.  I’ll let you know if that works out.

The second option is to order bees from a commercial apiary.  There are two large operations that folks in this area order from: HoneyBee Genetics out of California and Bee Weaver, out of Texas. Check out these two websites…..they are filled with information…and one could spend hours reading about bees and beekeeping.  If I can’t get any bees locally, then that will be the way to go.  The problem is that while the cost of the bees is comparable with the local bees, the shipping costs are very high, more than the cost of a single nuc.  So now I am trying to find local beekeepers who will go in with me and share the cost of shipping.

So now we just wait and see.

While waiting, watch this really good video about sustainable beekeeping: Saving the Honeybee: Hour of Decision

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A nucleus colony ( commonly referred to a a “nuc” ) is a starter colony that you can buy either from a local beekeeper or a commercial apiary. Last year I started too late to order my bees. Turns out you have to get your order in very early.  Local beekeepers usually have fewer nuc’s that they can spare, and so theirs go quickly…usually by late summer they will have received requests for next year’s bees.  And it all depends on how well the bees have overwintered.  A very severe winter could stress out the bees and there will be fewer to sell off.  A nuc usually consists of 4 combs, hundreds of worker bees, and a young egg-laying queen. One advantage to getting local bees is that they are adapted to the area and the sometimes crazy weather conditions we experience here in the high desert of Northern New Mexico.   There are three local beekeepers that I have met over the past year and I was able to secure a nuc from one of them for this Spring.

Steve Wall at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market

I met Steve Wall at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market, where he sells his honey, wax candles, and bee pollen.

He’s also going to teach basic beekeeping to beginners like me , so this will be great.  He’s local, his bees are from the ‘hood, and he will be easy to contact when I need help and support.  You can check out his website here. A great guy, and I’m looking forward to working with him this year.


There are two other beekeepers that also set up at the Market:

Les Crowder        http://www.fortheloveofbees.com/


Melanie Kirby and Mark Spitzig       http://www.ziaqueenbees.com/

All three are really friendly and full of information….and so eager to share their knowledge.

Check out their websites to learn more about their bees and what they offer.

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