Beekeeper Hat – The Most Important Protection
Article by Ben Field
The protective gear that is always recommended to all novice beekeepers is the suit, gloves and hat and veil. By far the most important of all these pieces of gear is the beekeeper’s hat and veil.
If a mishap occurs and the bees believe they are under attack they will defend with great gusto. Their target will always be the same the face and neck. This is not an instinct to attack the most vulnerable area, but that they are attracted by the breath of their suspected attacker, the beekeeper.
The skin is more susceptible to bee venom and the reactions in this area are far more severe and much longer lasting. Also it is necessary to remove the sting with its venom sack as soon as possible after the attack to reduce the venom pumped in. This is obviously difficult if you cannot see the offending sting without the use of mirrors etc. These are the reasons why the beekeeper hat and veil are of key importance and you will very rarely see beekeeper tending their hives without their hat and veil.
The hat should be light coloured and a close weave that will resist the penetration of the bee sting. It should also have a wide brim or other device that can support the veil away from the face. The veil is usually a tight mesh type cloth that can allow good visibility, but will not allow a bee through. Normally however the bee sting can penetrate through the material and this is why it should be supported away from the face and neck.
Following every visit to the hive the hat and veil should be fully examined for stings and these should be removed. The sting, with its attached venom sack, will emit a pheromone that will attract the bees and give them an alarm warning. This pheromone should be removed from the material by washing or the hat and veil will be inviting attack when the beekeeper is examining the hive correctly.
Many styles are now available ranging from the traditional broad brimmed hat with hanging net featured in many costume dramas from Victorian times to a spaceman type arrangement with the visor being of a net type material. Both are efficient and it is dependent on your fashion likes and dislikes to which you will choose.
Take your time when choosing a hat and veil as I said earlier this is by far the most important item of protective gear and it is worth a little time to get the best for you.
About the Author
Ben Field is a beekeeping expert. For more great tips on beekeeper hat, visit http://www.thebeekeepingcenter.com.