In Memory of

Debbie Cowell

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Upcoming Events

October SCBA Meeting
Oct 23 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
November SCBA Meeting – Cancelled
Nov 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Meeting is CANCELLED

Annual SCBA Holiday Dinner – RSVP by 12/1
Dec 10 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Please join us for the
Annual SCBA Holiday Dinner
Sunday, December 10th
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
St. Mortiz Grill & Bar
Lake Mohawk, NJ
Cost per person: $38
(Buffet dinner & cash bar)
RSVP no later than Friday, December 1st
Questions? Email:

Dear Members and Friends-

And so it goes – another Fair has come and gone. Where does the time go?

As acting President of our club, I wanted to extend a special thanks to all who made the NJ State Fair the success that it was.  In no special order, thanks to all of you who volunteered your time (many of you multiple shifts!!!) to work the booth and be the public “face” of the SCBA. Because of you, I think more people think differently of our “girls” and the important role they play in all our lives.  I heard and watched as all of you engaged the children and adults alike, explaining the science and demonstrating the art of beekeeping.


To the Executive Board members (Ken, Judy, Laurie & Glenn) who dedicated so much time to the planning and organizing over the past 5-6 months – it wouldn’t happen without your dedication.


To Deb Schulaka for coordinating fair passes and parking permits (never easy!).


To Marsha for her sage counsel & help with our new shirts – they seem to be a favorite – and to assisting Deb with fair pass coordination.


To Harry Space and crew who arrived early and stayed late to erect and dismantle our booth – there were numerous comments regarding how smoothly it all went and in record time! (years of practice makes it look easy and the new storage facility doesn’t hurt!).


To John and Karen for doing a marvelous job putting together the Honey Show, and all the entrants.  Great work!  I understand we had more participants and entries than ever before.  Tim Schuler (State Apiarist and Judge) tells me he’s very pleased to see the improvement in numbers and quality.  


To JC for preparing the demo hives for their starring roles and to him for “performing his stupid human tricks” (always a crowd favorite) Kudos to JC, Jenny & Nicol for being mentioned so prominently in the outgoing Fair Queens fair well speech & press article.  


To Joel and the Medina family for hosting Jenny, the National Honey Princess, for the fifth year. Special Congrats to Nicol Medina on being named NJ Honey Queen (good luck in the Nationals!)


To Dan Perez for organizing our Honey Royalty program (Sammy, Sarah, David & Jordan) – the “kids” did a wonderful job interacting with the public (I think Sarah slept in her sash!), 


To all the shift leads who shouldered the added responsibility and more than lived up to the challenge.


To Ralph and Bobby for collecting and posting our photos.  

To our Vendors – Leeanne, Denise, Roman, Justin/Emma, Grant Stiles – all providing quality products for our fund raiser. Many of our “clients” commented on how they look forward to coming back year after year for your products! 


To Leeann and Christopher for closing shop night after night.  


To all whose names I’ve omitted, please forgive me – it is unintended.

Fair visitors abuzz at bee demonstration

Photos by Warren Westura/New Jersey Herald – From left, Nicole Medina, of Green, 2018 New Jersey Honey Queen; Sarah Edwards-Ronning, of Montague, 2018 Sussex County Honey Princess; Jenny Gross, of Sheboygan, Wisc., 2018 America Honey Princess; and J.C. Cowell, of Vernon, a mentor with the Sussex County Beekeepers Association, display the inner workings of a hive on Tuesday at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Frankford.

By  New Jersey Herald

Posted: Aug. 8, 2018 12:01 am

FRANKFORD — As a small crowd gathered around a screened area slightly larger than a phone booth at the Sussex County Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon, J.C. Cowell, a mentor with the Sussex County Beekeepers Association, announced that he was about to shake dozens of honeybees off the honey frame they had latched onto.

“This could go horribly wrong,” Cowell admitted — a bit nonchalantly, it seemed, given what he had just said.

But while Cowell could tell that the creatures did not particularly enjoy being thrown off the frame, not one of them stung the beekeeper because, as he explained, bees generally do not sting except as a defense mechanism.

The lesson was just one of many Cowell provided during a 2 p.m. honeybee demonstration at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show.

Just outside the entrance to the Richards Building, Cowell is hosting demonstrations — accompanied by 20,000 to 30,000 bees — every day, weather permitting, at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m.

Joining Cowell and the bees during part of the performance were three young women also dedicated to beekeeping: Sarah Edwards-Ronning, the 2018 Sussex County Honey Princess; Nicole Medina, the 2018 New Jersey Honey Queen; and Jenny Gross, a resident of Sheboygan, Wisc., and this year’s American Honey Princess. The trio, along with Cowell and the rest of the Sussex County Beekeepers Association, shares a mission of informing the general population about how beneficial the tiny critters are to everyday life.

“Our whole charter is public outreach — educate the public about bees and beekeeping and how important bee pollination is to our food supply,” Cowell said. “Bees are responsible for one-third of our food supply, so if we lose the bees, we lose one-third of our food supply worldwide, so it’s really important — we’re worried about the bees.”

As he spoke about the nutritional benefits of honey, Cowell scraped up a sample of the substance straight from the frame and ate it. Gross noted that honey is antibacterial and can be used to heal wounds and soothe a sore throat, among other qualities.

“When bees make honey, they actually go out to different flowers and they get the nectar from those sources, and then when they bring them back to the hive, all the other bees will fan that honey down to about 17 percent water content,” Gross said. “At that point, bacteria can’t grow or live in the honey, so that’s what makes it antibacterial.”

Medina explained that honeybees “speak” to each other mainly by emitting pheromones, chemical substances that guide the behavior of others in a particular species.

“Like we use words to speak, they use scents,” she said. “Usually if they feel threatened, they let out a scent that’s very similar to banana toffee, so if they know that the queen is happy, healthy and safe, they will make sure that they communicate that well with the rest of them.”

A queen bee can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day during its lifetime, according to Cowell. Queens generally live between two and three years, much longer than worker bees’ lifespan of about only six weeks.

Cowell conducted two of what he called “stupid human tricks” near the end of the show: the aforementioned frame shaking and a move that involved grabbing another bee by the wings to show off its stinger. While the tricks could result in him getting stung if done improperly, the beekeeper was confident in what he was doing because of his ability to discern what the animals were relaying to him.

“They communicate very clearly to me and they’ll tell me when I’ve gone too far, so we can get away with a lot,” Cowell said. “My only safety equipment is my reading glasses here. There’s no reason for them to sting me; they only want to sting to defend themselves or their homes.”

In fact, Cowell noted that a swarm of bees flying — which many people view as a potential for danger — is actually when the creatures are at their gentlest, since they do not have a home to defend at that moment.

According to Cowell, the world is losing 50 to 70 percent of beehives every year due to problems like misuse of pesticides and loss of habitat. He noted that increased awareness of the bees’ plight has benefited them recently, but he also warned of the possibility of the situation worsening again.

“People know more about honeybees now more than ever because of all the good press honeybees and the problem with colony collapse disorder and a bunch of things are getting,” Cowell said. “We’re raising more bees, we’re keeping more bees, so right now we’re keeping things even. The concern is, the pendulum could swing at any time.”

Kyle Morel can also be contacted on Twitter: @KMorelNJH, on Facebook:, or by phone: 973-383-1292.

2018 Honey Show Results

2018 Honey Show Results

Monthly Beekeeping Checklist

Beekeeping in August


  • Nectar Dearth: August is the time for nectar dearth in most of New Jersey.  If you have a small or weak colony in the same yard with strong colonies, reduce the entrances of the weak colonies to prevent robbing.  If you have to feed those colonies, make sure you don’t spill syrup on the outsides, and fill feeders as close to night as possible.  Sometimes it’s best to feed all the fives, weak and strong, or have a yard for weak colonies away from strong ones.  Once robbing has started, it is very difficult to stop.


  • Do not leave colonies open for long: Check for strength, whether or not they are queen-right (by looking for eggs, you do not need to see the queen to know she is there), and food reserves.  Correct problems ASAP, the sooner the better.


  • Treat for mites: If you were not able to treat for Varroa last month, you need to do it now.


  • Participate in a local honey show: There are honey shows at the following county fairs:  Monmouth, Warren, Hunterdon, and Sussex.  The entry rules can be found on the respective county fair websites.  Most country fairs gave classes for liquid honey, comb honey, beeswax, creamed honey, cosmetics and photography.  They are fun, rewarding, and you can win a ribbon and often some prize money.
2018 Honey Queen Program

Dear SCBA Members,

Do you have a child or know of a young beekeeper who would qualify for the 2018 Honey Queen Program? If so, it’s time to submit an application.
The Sussex County Honey Queen, Honey Princess and Junior Beekeeper Program provides our local community with young representatives to spread the word about the benefits of honey bees and beekeeping. Honey Queens and Princesses (girls) and Junior Beekeepers (boys) put bright young faces on local beekeeping practices, share their knowledge of honey bees and beekeeping with the public and schools, assist the judges during the annual Honey Show, participate in New Jersey State Fair events such as the parade, and volunteer their time working the honey booth.
One Honey Queen and up to five Honey Princesses/Junior Beekeepers will be selected for a one-year term. Interested candidates who will be entering the fifth through twelfth grades should submit a short letter or e-mail to the president of the SCBA not later than June 7, 2018. The letter should include the applicant’s full name, a parent or guardian’s name, contact information (address, cell phone and e-mail) for the parent or guardian, and anything the candidate wants to share about her or himself.

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.

Read more….

Stories about Bees on NPR Radio

View Articles…


NJ Beekeepers Clubs

NJ Beekeepers Association

Central Jersey Beekeepers Association

Essex County Beekeers Society

Jersey Cape Branch

Mid-State Branch

Morris and Somerset County Beekeepers

Northeast Beekeepers

Northwest Jersey Beekeepers Association

Raritan Valley Beekeepers

South Jersey Beekepers

Sussex County Beekeepers

Apiary Registration

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Become a Member

Interested in Joining the Sussex County Beekeepers Association?

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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


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About SCBA

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

Stiles Apiaries

859 King Georges Rd,

Fords, NJ 08863

Tractor Supply

775 NJ-23

Sussex, NJ 07461

Brushy Mountain

610 Bethany Church Road

Moravian Falls, NC  28654

David Burns – The Winter Bee Kind
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N. 1020 East Road
Fairmount, IL 61841

Cerbo’s Hampton Nursery

86 Route 519

Newton, NJ 07860

Mann Lake

501 1st Street South

Hackensack, MN  56452


Vermont Quilt Bee

Hope Johnson

PO Box 674 

Shelburne, VT 05482

Dadant & Sons Inc.

Corporate Office
51 South 2nd Street
Hamilton, Illinois 62341