Sussex County Beekeepers Association, PO Box 261, Lafayette NJ 07848

In Memory of

Debbie Cowell

PO Box 261, Lafayette, NJ 07848

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January 2019 Meeting


Join us on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM for our first meeting of the new year.  We will be discussing “Winter hive feeding refresher” 

We will also be electing Executive Board Members.



RIP Tom Webb

Dear Beekeeper;

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.

Yours truly;

Tom Makoujy

Acting President

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


Beginners Beekeeping Class


anuary 12, 2019    8:30 AM 4:30 PM
January 19, 2019    8:30 AM 4:30 PM
January 26, 2019    8:30 AM 4:30 PM
Lafayette Township Fire Department
126 State Route 15 North
Lafayette Township, NJ 07848


Click to Register

  • Full registration, which includes “Backyard Beekeeper”, copy of presentations and a copy of the 2019 “A Year in New Jersey Beekeeping” wall calendar and a year’s membership in the NJBA.
  • Full registrants can have one household member residing at the same address attend as a guest at a reduced “family” rate. Guests receive copies of the presentations only and can be included in the first year NJBA registration.
  • Students who have qualified for a scholarship will receive a code with which to register at the time their scholarship is approved.


Click to Register

Sussex County Beekeepers Association
Introduction to Beekeeping

Included in your registration:

  • Two full Saturdays (January 12 & 19, 2019 — Snow date is January 26, 2019) of beekeeping instruction from New Jersey’s most experienced and successful beekeepers.
  • Backyard Beekeeper, 4th Edition, by Kim Flottum, an essential resource for the beginning beekeeper.
  • First year membership in the New Jersey Beekeepers Association and the Sussex County Beekeepers Association.
  • 2019 “A Year in New Jersey Beekeeping” Calendar
  • Copies of all presentations.
  • Continental breakfast and lunch.

The class fills up quickly, so register today! (Please note that your registration is not complete until payment is received.)

If you have any questions, please email Judy Tonkin, SCBA Corresponding Secretary at

For information on scholarships for youths ages 12 to 22, click here.

Monthly Beekeeping Checklist

Beekeeping in January

  • Order packages or nucs for spring
  • Order equipment for spring
  • Make sure hive covers are secure: All your hives should have weights or straps on the outer covers to keep them on. Between the inner & outer cover place a ½ to ¾ inch thick block of wood toward the front of the hive.  This will slightly raise the outer cover, providing a top entrance and an escape for warm, moist air.  You will never have to worry about snow blocking the entrance and the bees can breathe and leave the hive through the top.
  • Check colonies for food reserves: Tip the hive to gauge the weight. Try to lift the hive; you should not be able to do that easily this time of year.  You can lift the inner cover to look down between the frames for capped honey.  If the hive seems too light or you can’t detect capped honey, supplemental feeding is necessary.
  • Dead outs: Should have entrance sealed to prevent robbing or be removed from the bee yard until the disease status can be determined. It is recommended to have them checked by the State Apiarist for disease.  This can be done in your bee yard or at an NJBA branch meeting.  If there is no sign of American Foul Brood (AFB), the frames and boxes can be re-used.


    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

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    South Jersey Beekepers

    Sussex County Beekeepers

    Apiary Registration

    Register your Apiary : Click Here


    Become a Member

    Interested in Joining the Sussex County Beekeepers Association?

    Click to Join Online

    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


    Click the link below to join online

    Click to Join Online

    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

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