The Key to Beekeeping is the Beekeepers Suit
It’s of paramount importance to first learn about bees and their first line of defense if you’re considering working with them. A beekeeper and their suit go hand in hand and should always be worn in the hive – without any exceptions – even if you are experienced.
Allergies and How the Body Responds
Although lots of people are allergic to bee stings, those people only know because they were stung first by a bee. If you’re determined to start beekeeping, you will need to find out whether you are indeed allergic to bees first. Despite being extremely careful to avoid bee stings, sooner or later you will get stung – a fact that all beekeepers are resigned to. There are some beekeepers who stand by the fact that the bodies immunity to the swelling caused by bee stings is made stronger if a few stings are experienced each year. Once the venom enters the body, antibodies are produced to oppose the foreign bodies and over the course of time, the body will get stronger to bee stings.
Protect Your Face and Neck
Having said that, even seasoned beekeepers will still want to avoid being stung too much. And to realize this they wear a good suit with a hat and veil, and gloves. There are those though that relinquish using gloves sometimes, as they can be awkward to use at times if the task is delicate. Typically, if a sting is sustained on the naked hand, it can brushed off simply by using the fingernail. Done promptly, the quantity of venom that the body is subjected to will be alot lower. The face and the neck, if left exposed, are likely targets for attack as bees in defensive mode are attracted to the breath. Compared to the rest of the body, the face is ultra-sensitive and stings to this area are extremely painful and to be avoided at all costs. If one is bitten on the face, a mirror will need to be located immediately. As you can see, it’s vital to be adequately protected when working with bees when an attack can be mostly directed at the face.
The Design of the Beekeeping Suit
When working in close proximity to the colony, the beekeeping suit, which is full-length, must always be worn. It’s light in color, typically white, and is constructed of smooth and glossy fabrics. Being smooth and of a light hue helps to “conceal” the beekeeper from the colony because the predators of bees are usually dark in color, such as bears and skunks. The beekeeping suit also provides the beekeeper a convenient method of removing stings and venom by simply tugging on the cloth. Wearing protective clothing can also help to impede the venom from entering into the body. If stings remain in the fabric of the suit, they still emit the “alarm” pheromone that triggers angry behavior and more attacks by the colony. To minimize the risk of the bees latching onto the scent the next time the beekeeper enters the hive, regular washing of the suit is highly recommended. Using vinegar to rinse one’s hands in will also reduce the attention of the bees being directed at you.
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