Armed with smokers, beehive tools and other tools, we approach the hive excitedly to learn the wonders that bees do. But before that we need to do one more important thing. To protect yourself from equally unpleasant bees.
Unlike lay people who often unjustly believe that bees sting and seek every opportunity, we know more about how bees behave. They aren’t as eager to shoot as many people think, but there’s still a chance they’ll get stabbed once or twice. High-quality protective clothing can greatly reduce the chance of being stung. Let’s take a closer look at what we can do to prevent stings when wearing protective clothing.
Protection and soothing
First, consider the “why”. Attitudes vary as to how much effort should be put into avoiding a sting. Only you can determine the end of this continuum, but we want to repeat a very important point.
As a new beekeeper, whether medically or spiritually tolerant to bee stings, you need to relax and keep calm around the bee. If you’re like most beekeepers, the first few inspections can be a bit intimidating. We consider it healthy and affordable.
It is possible and quite common in practice to inspect the hive in detail without paying too much attention to the bees. In this case, you will find that the bee continues its work in the frame inside the box. Aside from a few bees flying around you, a time like this is very relaxing and very enjoyable.
But other times, something can “churn” the bees. In this case, removing the crate and inspecting the frame will reveal more madness around the hive. The noise level goes up and more bees fly around you, focusing on your work rather than theirs. For some beekeepers, this is a reasonable standard and depends on many factors (eg time of year, type of bee, etc.). Therefore, it is not particularly uncommon to work with bees that are somewhat agitated.
But regardless of their activities and how much they care about your existence, you want to remain calm and prudent. To solve this problem, you need to focus on the task at hand without constantly worrying about the bite. You will need good protective clothing for this.
What do you need?
This is controversial, and different Best beekeeping suits have different approaches. Therefore, we do not recommend any specific level of protection here. Our goal is to give you the information you need to find your balance. But let’s start with the easy part.
Protect your hair
Just… don’t compromise! We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Protect your head regardless of your comfort level. Videos of people not wearing protective caps are easy to find on YouTube. Especially among “skilled” beekeepers (or manly beekeepers).
It annoys them, but shows little of what happens when they are stabbed near the eye. This is not a good thing at all. So, no matter what suit you put on before checking your bee, always protect your head.
Upper body protection – Hat and veil
Most beekeepers wear a jacket or veil over clothing to protect their head, although this is not required. A “free-standing” veil works well if the jacket has a clear fixation or cover (ie no gaps). All types of veils work well, but it is important that all designs provide rigidity so that the veil does not bend and turn in the face. In very rare cases, a bee can pierce the veil, but if it touches the veil that has fallen off the face, then everything is fine.
A popular choice for https://www.goldbeestore.co.uk beekeepers is the beekeeper jacket (as opposed to full body suits – see below). They are quicker to wear and often incorporate a veil into the design. A good jacket has a sturdy zipper and thumb loops to help insert the jacket’s arm into the glove. The zipper between the jacket and the veil should also fit easily.
The jacket is available in ventilated and non-ventilated versions.
Breathable clothing is a very useful advantage when working on hot summer days, and we recommend this approach when we all face days like this. Unfortunately, hive inspections have been stopped due to overheating, and today’s good ventilation materials are effective in reducing that possibility.
If there is one thing that experienced beekeepers with field experience sometimes counterattack, hazmat suits are the use of gloves.
Tingling in your hands isn’t fun, but it’s definitely not as worrisome as a tingling in your head. It has also been claimed that gloves reduce “tactile and finesse” when performing honeycomb tests. This may be true to some extent, but many beekeepers are always doing well with gloves on. There are many types of gloves to choose from. In general, look for lightweight gloves that are well ventilated.
Between wearing regular apiary gloves and not wearing them at all are nitrile gloves similar to those used by healthcare professionals. Of course, there’s no guarantee you won’t get stung, but at least they provide protection while still providing more feel than beekeeping gloves.
Lower body protection – Pants
Many beekeepers do not use specially designed trousers. However, no plain clothes can completely prevent bee stings. Even heavy jeans can pierce a resolute worker bee. However, many beekeepers see this as a reasonable compromise, assuming they do not have a complete beekeeping kit (see below).
Whichever method you take (jacket, beesuit, etc.), beekeeping boots are optional. Likewise, not all beekeepers buy special beekeeping boots. The important point here is that there should be no gaps between the bottom of the trousers and the foot. This is usually easy to check. Tuck the bottom of your pants into your socks.