In Memory of
PO Box 261, Lafayette, NJ 07848
RIP Tom Webb
It is with great sadness that I must inform you that Tom Webb, founding member and patriarch of the Sussex County Beekeepers Association, has passed.
Born in 1928, Tom and his wife Helen were icons in the New Jersey beekeeping community. A commercial beekeeper known throughout southern New York and New Jersey, he was passionate about honey bees and a strong advocate for beekeepers. Tom and Helen were fixtures at club meetings state wide, and at the Sussex County Farm & Horse Show where for decades he performed live demonstrations for the public without equipment. He is credited with helping many beekeepers get their start with words of support, and his wit and wisdom will be sorely missed.
Tom’s wife Helen, daughter Denise and son Tom, invite all who knew Tom to visit them at the Pinkle Funeral Home, 31 Bank St(Route 23) in Sussex Borough, on Monday, December 10th, from 2-4 and then 7-9. Funeral services will be Tuesday, December 11th at 10:00. Burial to follow in Butler.
Please join us in extending our thoughts and prayers to Tom and the Webb family.
Sussex County Beekeepers Association
Eulogy for Tom Webb
Good morning Helen, Denise, Tom, Allison & Eric, Pastor Blake and to all, welcome.
My name is Tom Makoujy, and I am the acting president of the Sussex County Beekeepers Association- an organization founded by Tom, his friends and fellow beekeepers more than 50 years ago. Tom is the “patriarch” of our club.
As you all know, Tom Webb was born in 1928, not far from here in Newfoundland, New Jersey. He grew up on the family farm in Sussex County, at a time when Sussex County was known for having more cows than people. A tall, sinewy kid who loved the outdoors, he grew to be Herculean in stature and character, and became a member of the “greatest generation”.
Tom lived a full life in his 90 years. Serving overseas in the US Army during the Korean War, he left the service and became an electrical engineer by trade. Tom and Helen married in 1953, and began raising their family in their beloved Sussex County. Supportive of the community he lived in, Tom was an active member of many local civic groups, including the Kiwanis Club, the American Legion, the Masonic Lodge, and the Sussex Agricultural Society. He was also a member of the NJ State Fish & Game Council, a director of the Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative for 31 years, as well as a director of the Allegheny Electric Cooperative. Tom served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show for many years.
But the one thing, for which Tom Webb will be best remembered, will be his passion for honey bees.
Tom’s love of bees started at a very early age. A number of years ago, Tom and Helen sat down with Elly Lesson, then the writer and editor of the club’s newsletter- Elly asked Tom when he first started keeping bees. According to Tom, one day at the age of 9, he was home alone on the farm when he saw a honey bee swarm hanging from an apple tree. Ever resourceful, Tom built a box out of scraps of wood, stood on his toes and using a rake, clawed the swarm down into his home made hive. It was at that moment Tom claims, his love affair with bees began! That love affair would last more than 80 years and become his life’s work.
Helen told the story that early on in their married lives, Tom came home from work one evening and boldly announced that he’d quit his job. He was going to become a commercial beekeeper. Elly asked Helen, “how did that work out?” Helen responded proudly, “I guess it worked out OK. He supported a family all these years and sent our two kids to college!”
Tom and Helen’s beekeeping business grew. They provided pollination services to farmers in three states, and at one point, had more than 1,200 hives. Tom managed these hives by himself, and developed techniques to manipulate the heavy boxes without assistance. (Until his dying days, the strength of Tom’s grip was a thing to behold- when you shook his hand it was like being held in a vice).
In the early 60’s, Tom and his beekeeping friends from Sussex County would attend meetings of the North West New Jersey Beekeepers Association in Belvidere. Eventually, Tom would serve as president of that club. But tired of their travels back and forth to the far reaches of Warren County, Tom, Walter Richards and others, decided to found their own club- they founded the Sussex County Beekeepers Association.
Over the years, Tom Webb served as president of the SCBA and the New Jersey Beekeepers Association- holding a number of positions within the state organization. He and Helen were well known within the New Jersey beekeeping community, developing a reputation as strong advocates of beekeepers.
The Webbs were fixtures at the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show for decades, later to become the New Jersey State Fair. Tom and Helen would spend all nine days at the Fair- from early morning to late in the evening- talking to the public and sharing their passion for honey bees with the tens of thousands of people who passed their way. Tom was famous for the live bee demonstrations he performed every year to the delight of Fair goers- young and old. Tom would stand in the small, screened booth, surrounded by live stinging bees, without a single article of protective clothing, handling his girls without the slightest inkling of fear. He was the “bee whisperer”! It was these demonstrations and encouraging comments by Tom that brought many new beekeepers into the fold.
Today, that small club, founded in 1967 by a dozen or so people headed by Tom Webb and Walter Richards, is healthy and strong, and boasts a membership of over 275. We in the Sussex County Beekeepers Association- one of the largest branches of the NJBA- owe our existence to their efforts, passion and leadership.
Tom’s contribution to the New Jersey beekeeping community over more than fifty years, has benefitted not only those whose lives he touched directly, but also the beautiful honeybees, whose existence helps provide the food we put on our table. (As Tom might tell you, honey bees are responsible for a third of the food we eat).
In closing, I’d like to say this world is a much better place because Tom Webb was here. He made a difference. It was a privilege to have known and learned from him. May God bless you Tom, and welcome you with open arms through the gates of heaven.
Godspeed Tom Webb. We will miss you.
December 11, 2018
Monthly Beekeeping Checklist
Beekeeping in May
- Feeding: The only reason to feed now is to help draw comb on new colonies (packages and nucs) or to feed a weak colony.
- Supers: Check weekly for space in the supers. Add supers when you see the bees storing nectar in the honey super. You need to stay ahead of the bees. If they run out of room, they will build swarm cells and leave.
- Making splits: Cutting out swarm cells is not advised. The result may be a queenless colony. If you see many queen cells, it is better to split the colony into two or more hives, leaving a frame with cells and some brood and honey on the original hive stand, giving them lots of empty space. This is the month most beekeepers in NJ split strong colonies. Splitting a colony will usually cost you in honey production.
- Swarms: You should have extra equipment on hand to capture swarms as needed. Have it ready to go when the call comes in.
General Beekeeping Tips:
- All beekeepers, and especially urban beekeepers, need to make sure their water supply does not run out.
- When working bees, wear light colored clothing and no rings or jewelry. Use your smoker judiciously as need. Smoke your hands and the entrance to the hive before you even touch the hive. Make slow deliberate movements, not quick jerky movements. Work your bee on sunny days when the temperature is above 60 degrees, between 10 am and 3 pm. Do not work them at night or in the rain. DO NOT wear perfume, cologne, or any strong scent when working the bees.
2019 Honey Queen Program
Dear SCBA Members,
For questions, please contact Dan Perez, program coordinator, at (201) 303-6209
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.
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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