In Memory of
Letter from Dagmar Wojcik
Dear Mr. Zoltowski,
I am writing to voice my great concern over the NJ Department of Agriculture’s recently proposed beekeeping regulations. As currently proposed, these regulations would negatively affect not only my small bee yard, but also my community and my family.
In the two years since we took our beginners beekeeping course together, my family has both given to and received so much from beekeeping. It would be absolutely devastating if any obstacle such as misinformed or hasty regulations came into place that would make it difficult or impossible for us to continue beekeeping. Starting with just one hive, our little bee yard on our 1.75 acre home lot has recently grown to three hives through the use of good beekeeping practices that we learned through the guidance of the SCBA, NJBA, and EAS – three incredibly knowledgeable and helpful beekeeping organizations that have provided us with ongoing instruction, advice, mentorship, and camaraderie. As delicious as our own honey is, more valuable to us is the bonding that our family has done in working with our hives, and the learning and experience that we have all gained in the process.
Both of my teenage daughters have become beekeeping and environmental advocates. As a thirteen year old, my younger daughter documented our family’s early beekeeping experiences through a long term middle school project that spanned six months and culminated in her giving detailed presentations to her peers and younger students on the importance of pollinators and beekeeping. She has been a regular volunteer at SCBA events, and several of her beekeeping photos have won recognition at the state fair and in the NJBA annual calendars. For my older daughter, her beekeeping studies, volunteerism and advocacy has sharpened her interest in biology and environmental sciences to such a degree that she is currently the president of our local chapter of the agricultural and environmental youth organization, FFA, which boasts 141 members at Newton High School and almost 650,000 members nationally. She has won recognition in environmental and agricultural competitions statewide and nationally, most recently competing at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis where she scored 10th place in the nation in the environmental and natural resources competition. In college, she hopes to take her strong interest in entomology and beekeeping to the next level by focusing on biology and environmental studies.
As valuable as beekeeping is to our family, of greater importance is the difference that the growing number of small, local beekeepers like us is having on communities and pollinator populations globally. Providing pollinators with a home and educating family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and the general public on the importance that pollinators and their health have on our environment and food supply has been an important part of the beekeeping process for us. It’s an undeniable fact – non-commercial beekeepers are making a positive difference in the pollinator population in NJ. Please consult those most experienced in beekeeping in NJ before drafting any new regulations that will negatively impact non-commercial beekeeping in NJ. Our NJ state apiarist, the NJBA, the EAS, and local beekeeping organizations like the SCBA can all contribute invaluable knowledge and guidance on these issues. Let’s create healthy beekeeping practices and policies that build strong, positive beekeeping communities accessible to all.
Green Township, Sussex County, NJ
Letter from Judy Tonkin
Dear Mr. Zoltowski,
As a beekeeper for the past 3 years, I was disheartened to read the new beekeeping regulations being considered by the NJ Department of Agriculture. Since you no doubt have an inbox full of messages from beekeepers, local organizations and citizens who appreciate the important role honey bees play in the food chain, I will keep my comments brief.
From my vantage point there are 3 major issues:
- The impetus for development of the regulations originated from a single, politically-influential NJ resident.Although I am not aware of the specific reason(s) this person (or small group of people) initiated this crusade I feel undue weight is being given to their opinion. If, in fact, they have a legitimate issue with a local beekeeper there are numerous resources available to help resolve the problem. Addressing the issue with punitive, hastily-drafted regulations is excessive and abusive.
- The proposed regulations were developed in a vacuum. No experienced beekeepers or beekeeping organizations were consulted.The NJBA has reached out to the Department of Agriculture and provided comments on the regulations. Despite this, there has been no reciprocal conversation. It is imperative that if new regulations are to be instituted that knowledgeable parties be included in the process.
- Because no legitimate, knowledgeable sources were consulted the regulations are not fact based.I am not sure how the restrictions on the number of hives per acre was calculated and can find no beekeeper that can provide an explanation.
My first exposure to beekeeping was while I was volunteering as wildlife rehabilitator in Warren County. I was hooked immediately. I was aware of the challenges the honey bee was facing and hoped I could play a small part in the solution. But that was only the beginning. I took a course from the SCBA to get started, picked up some books and magazines and scoured the web. The more I learned about honey bees and their intricate, well-organized colonies, the more I became fascinated. I was also introduced to New Jersey’s beekeeping community. They were knowledgeable, supportive and generous with their time. I am now an active SCBA board member. I greatly value the new friends I have made, the prospect of welcoming new beekeepers to the club and the never-ending journey of learning how to facilitate and expand the bee population.
I feel the regulations currently under consideration will negatively affect many hobbyists and discourage additional people from becoming new beekeepers. If the new regulations contributed in any way to the practice of beekeeping I could support them; however, based on the reasons I explained earlier I strenuously object to the changes. I strongly urge (and yes, even beg) the Department of Agriculture to recognize the arbitrary and punitive nature of these regulations and open a productive conversation with NJ beekeepers.
Thank you for your time
**** Call to Action ****
Proposed State Legislation would severely limit beekeeping in New Jersey!
Dear Fellow Beekeepers,
Unless you have been clustered in a hive for the last six months, you should be aware of the proposed changes going on within our state that will directly affect the future of bee keeping in New Jersey.
The NJ Dept. of Agriculture has proposed restrictions regarding hive proximity to neighboring lot lines, public walkways, minimum fence heights, etc. However, the major change affecting beekeepers relates to colony density. According to the newly proposed regulations, those of us that live on five acres or less will be limited to keeping two full hives and one nucleus hive. If you currently have more than two hives on your site, which many of us do, you will be required to apply for a waiver. Additionally, all hives will have to be registered. Those that decide not to follow the new regulations will likely not register their hives. This creates a scenario where potential diseases could spread apiary to apiary without any warning or oversight by the State Apiarist.
Unfortunately, the proposed regulations are not grounded in science and were created without input from the New Jersey State Apiarist, Tim Schuler, or the New Jersey Beekeepers Association. Instead it is being pushed through based solely on the emotions of a limited number of angry residents in a single community whose goal it is to eliminate beekeeping in any residential area.
In a few weeks, our club will be offering our informational new beekeepers course. I really enjoyed taking that course, but I would have never ventured into bee keeping if I knew the State of New Jersey was going to limit the number of hives I could keep. I think responsible bee keeping should be up to the individual. When new regulations are developed, everyone should have input at the table- including the beekeepers. Over the years we have seen a tremendous increase in beekeeping in our state, and now many will just be turned away due to the new regulations.
I am asking you to contact Joseph Zoltowski from NJDA and let him know how the new regulations are going to affect you personally as a beekeeper. Please ask others to contact him as well. Let them share their stories of how bees have made a positive impact in their lives and their communities. We have until January 19, 2018 to make a difference. In addition, please forward a copy of your comments to Janet Katz, President, New Jersey Beekeepers Association.
John Trahan /Bee Keeper
Sussex County Beekeepers Association
Director, Division of Plant Industry, NJ Department of Agriculture, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625-0330 if via snail mail or
Or via email to him at proposedrulesPlantIndustry@ag.state.nj.us
Janet Katz NJBA President firstname.lastname@example.org
Simplified Copy of Proposed Regulations – nwba.njbeekeepers.org
Bees in The News
Good News for American honeybees
It comes as welcome news that the number of domesticated U.S. honeybee hives has risen so far in 2017, according to a new survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were 2.89 million commercial honeybee colonies in the U.S. as of April 1, 2017, the USDA reports this week, a rise of 3 percent from a year earlier.
January 2018 Membership Meeting
Membership Meeting is scheduled for January 23, 2018 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in the Admin Building.
Leeann Coleman will be our guest speaker. She will demonstrate how to make bee’s wax cosmetics including solid lotion bars and lip balms.
NJBA Winter Meeting - February 17-18, 2018
Mark your calendars for our Annual Meeting which includes our business meeting and biennial elections. Speakers will include Larry Weaner of Larry Weaner Landscape Associations; EAS Master Beekeeper Frank Licata; our own EAS Master Beekeeper, Northeast branch member John Gaut; NJ State Apiarist Tim Schuler; EAS Master Beekeeper Allen Hayes; Dr. David Gilley and students from William Paterson University; Grant Stiles of Stiles Apiaries LLC. Our banquet speaker is not yet confirmed. Landi Simone will lead the speakers’ round table.
The cost to register for the meeting is $132, which includes all of the meetings, lunch Saturday, the banquet on Saturday night, a hot breakfast and lunch on Sunday. Online registration is open at
NJ Beekeepers Clubs
Jersey Cape Branch
Morris and Somerset County Beekeepers
Raritan Valley Beekeepers
South Jersey Beekepers
Sussex County Beekeepers
Become a Member
Interested in Joining the Sussex County Beekeepers Association?
Some of the many benefits are:
- Automatic membership in the New Jersey Beekeepers Association.
- Access to a large network of experienced Beekeepers willing to help you succeed as a beekeeper.
- Use of the extensive SCBA lending Library.
- Opportunity to participate in club purchases.
- Invitation to join in on many SCBA sponsored educational and social events.
For more information Email Info@scba.club
Click the link below to join online
The Sussex County Beekeepers association is a Branch of the New Jersey Beekeepers Association.
Our mission is to:
* Promote and Support all aspects of beekeeping in New Jersey.
*Educate the General public about the benefits and importance of beekeeping.
*Dispel myths and misinformation concerning the honey bee.
*Inform and educate the general public concerning the honey bee and the beekeeping industry.
Thank you to our Donors who donated items for our fund raiser
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Sussex, NJ 07461
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