All You Need To Know About the Beekeeping Suit
Article by Ben Field
Most people when thinking of beekeeping imagine wearing the beekeeping suit and the hat and veil. These are important part of protection against bee stings; however there are things to understand before we start to think of the protective gear.
We must first study bee behaviour as this will reduce the likelihood of severe stinging more than anything else. Bees are polite peace loving insects; they sting in defence not attack being rarely aggressive. They will defend vehemently to protect themselves, their colony and their hive so it is important never to make them fell under attack.
A few people are allergic to bee venom and can suffer very severe reactions. It is important that if you are considering taking up beekeeping that you established if you are allergic so that you know the action to take if stung. There are medical tests available that can test for this allergy. Even the most experienced beekeeper will get stung. In fact there is a view that it is better to be stung a few times as then you will build a resistance to the stings over time.
But after all is said and done none of us enjoy being stung therefore it is important that fully understand the beekeeping suit and its accessories. The protective suit is normally an all in one jump suit in a light colour – normally white – of a smooth close woven material that can resist the penetration of the bee sting. Some beekeepers prefer to wear a blouson made of the same material. It is said that the light colour provides the largest difference from the bee colony’s natural long term predators like bears.
This may no longer be a problem in some areas but the bee colony’s natural instinct is built up over many thousands of years. The material must be such that the beekeeper can remove any stings easily. If left in the material the venom sack will continue to pump. The venom contains a pheromone that will attract defensive stinging from the bees. This means that is also important to regularly wash the suit to remove any venom from the suit.
Gloves both heavy working gloves and the lighter latex gloves are available and should be worn by novice beekeepers. Many experienced beekeepers do not wear gloves as they tend to inhibit the delicate work that is necessary. Rinsing the hands in vinegar minimises the attention of the bees. The harder skin on the hands means that the irritation tends to be much less. Stings can easily be spotted and then removed with a fingernail and thus reduce the quantity of venom injected.
The third element, and probably the most important, of protective clothing is the hat and veil. The bees will always be attracted to the face by the breath of the beekeeper. The affect of the sting is much more severe in the more tender skin of the face and neck. The sting is far more difficult to remove without the use of mirrors.By studying the behaviour of bees and wearing the proper protective clothing we can minimise the number of stings. This will make the whole experience of beekeeping far more pleasurable and rewarding.
And then there is the honey!
About the Author
Ben Field is a beekeeping expert. For great information on beekeeping suit, visit http://www.thebeekeepingcenter.com.