Zia QueenBee Co: Sustainable Beekeeping in New Mexico
We don't know if it's possible, but each stop on the Southwest Tour seems better than the last. A day after reaching Santa Fe, NM, we met up with Melanie Kirby, co-owner of Zia Queenbee Co, and followed her on a gorgeous hour-long drive to her home in Truchas, NM.
With her husband Mark, Melanie breeds Survivor Queenbees that are sold to beekeepers around the country so they can build healthy hives. They strive for sustainability in their day-to-day operations as well as by breeding queen bees that are strong, healthy, and docile. Their approach ensures that the bees are genetically diverse and by giving their queen bees extra time to mature, they prove themselves to be naturally resilient against disease, pests and weather fluctuations.
Here's a statement form the Zia Queebee Co website that sums up their approach to natural beekeeping and why it's so important to support:
Beekeeping is a dying art. However, as long as we require food to eat, there will be a need for honeybees and beekeepers. As new diseases, pests and challenges afflict honeybees, we need to be innovative and dedicated to conscientious management protocols. It is imperative that we cooperate as a local, regional and national community to ensure positive stewardship of our lands, resources and health.
In the four hours we spent with Melanie we learned more about bees, queen bee breeding, and honey than we could have imagined! One of the questions we raised was about Colony Collapse Disorder, which has been destroying bee hives across the country for the past four years. Fortunately, Melanie and Mark haven't been directly affected, and although Melanie doesn't claim to know the exact cause of CCD, she and Mark take careful precautions to keep their bees healthy and bred for resilience.
After filming an interview and dodging bees for a couple of hours (nobody was stung!), we joined Melanie and her 18-month-old daughter Isis for a honey tasting inside. Both of us have always enjoyed honey, but until yesterday, we never fully appreciated the complexity and difference of flavor that hives foraging from diverse flowers can produce.
Check out the blog post where we shared fascinating facts about bees that we learned during our visit, as well as some behind-the-scenes footage of Dorothée in a bee hat!
Online at ziaqueenbees.com
Video produced by Dorothée Royal-Hedinger and Mark Andrew Boyer at OrganicNation.tv