In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tour at Kelley Bees

My Shug and I went away a few days last week. We were invited to a 60th birthday party. Our friends that had the party live six hours away, in Kentucky, and we usually get together once a year. We took an extra day and decided to stop and bop along the way. Plus I wanted to go to Kelley Bees which is a supplier of beekeeping equipment. I went there a couple of years ago and enjoyed the visit. Plus I needed some supplies.

And guess what? They gave me a tour of their wax room!

So guess what you get? Yup...a tour of their wax room.

This is their woodworking building and loading dock area.

Look at all of that beekeeping equipment!

I had to get more bottles for honey. You can see in the picture below that we had to take the bottles out of the box to fit them in the car. I also got some inner covers, was foundation, frames for the foundation, and another bottling kit. Over $500.00 in supplies. Wax foundation went from $53.00 to $71.00 for 100 in one year. And that doesn't include the frames. Expensive "hobby".

It barely fit!

OK let's start the tour. These are blocks of beeswax.

Apparently, there is someone that flies all over the country looking for beeswax.

They are put in this vat and melted down. This is in a separate room that is kept at a certain temperature. She said you could lose a lot of weight cleaning up that room. It's like a sauna.

Then the melted wax comes through a pipe into the next room...

and is slightly cooled to form a pliable sheet of wax...

that goes through this machine. It's made a specific thickness and

wound into a roll.

These rolls are then put onto another machine

and embossed

with this honeycomb symbol.

The tour lady made the comment that things are still done the same way they were done when Walter B. Kelley started this business. She also commented that this one part cost more than the whole building! I don't know if she was serious or not, but I'm sure it was expensive.

Then the stamped wax is put onto this machine if they are making wired foundation. I use wired foundation. The difference is with wired foundation you spin the honey out of the comb. With wax, no wire, you can sell the honey as cut comb honey. The problem with cut comb honey is the beekeeper has to take the frame apart and replace the comb every year and the bees have to draw out the foundation every year. As a hobby beekeeper, I prefer to use wired foundation. I've used both, for the experience.

Here is a picture of the machine that puts the wire into the foundation.

Wired foundation

When the foundation comes out of the machine

these employees look at every sheet to make sure there isn't anything wrong with them.

Then they go to this area where this lady does something with them (I forget what!)

then she hands them off to this lady who wraps each piece in tissue paper.

then it is put in boxes and shipped to customers.

This is their whole area. They have buildings where they make wax foundation, frames, beehives, etc.

It was a very interesting tour and I really appreciated them taking us on it. If you go to Kelley Bees, ask them for a tour. If they aren't too busy they will gladly show you around.

Cindy Bee


  1. I have to say , Bee...I think I would enjoy that tour. I hope you are gonna make lip balm. You know how i love lip gloss and such

  2. Thanks for sharing the tour with us! Hope you had a great time with your friends and that you finally get some rain. We keep getting brief showers (20 minutes or less) just enough to make it really humid but not enough to do any good.

  3. Thanks for the tour! Just catching up a little. I may get a post up in the next couple of days! Most hobbies are costly but I have to agree this one is expensive. But if you enjoy it and make a little money from it too, that is a good thing, as Martha would say.

  4. Thanks for the tour Cindy. Yes, you have an expensive hobby...and Dangerous!

    yes, we need the rain bad! It's so sad about how everything is affected.


  5. Wow Cindy, That really looked interesting. Now I am wondering what they are doing with the wax...candles, lip balm?? Your Shug may have to get a second job :):) Smiles, xo, Susie


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