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NMSU to host beekeeping workshop in Abiquiu

ABIQUIU ? Bees are an agriculture producer?s friends. They are key to the pollination of many plants, especially fruit trees.

Establishing a hive on a farm is one way a grower can ensure that their crop will be pollinated.

To help producers in Rio Arriba County learn about bees and the fundamentals of beekeeping, New Mexico State University?s Cooperative Extension Service office in Abiquiu will host a workshop from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at the Rio Arriba County Rural Event Center in Abiquiu, located on State Highway 554.

Melanie Margarita Kirby, co-owner of Zia Queenbee Co., will speak on the fundamentals of beekeeping.

?Melanie first started beekeeping while in South Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer,? said Donald Martinez, NMSU agricultural agent for Rio Arriba County. ?She has been a professional beekeeper for 19 years.?

Kirby and her partner, Mark Spitzig, established Zia Queenbees in 2005. The company provides pollination services as well as honeys and beeswax products.

?She has conducted consilience research and survivor queen honeybees breeding following what she calls a ?Father Time tested ? Mother Nature approved? regiment,? Martinez said.

Kirby and Spitzig have conducted presentations on their bee stewardship philosophy and process regionally, nationally and internationally. Kirby also serves as the editor of Kelley Beekeeping, an online newsletter that has more than 40,000 subscribers around the world.

Cost of the workshop is $5 per person. Refreshments, plus samples of fresh honey, will be provided during the workshop. To register, contact the Rio Arriba County Extension office at 505-685-4523 by June 22.