Understanding the Beekeeping Suit 2
You mess with me, WE mess with you! This is the rule of the game in the bee world. When bees attack you they dont only sting, they also release some pheromones that quickly trigger all the other bees to attack you! So, if you thought all you got to be wary of is one or two stings, this should come as breaking news.
Actually, there have been recent revelations that the common fact that bees only sting once and then die is now partially true and partially not true. It has been recently discovered that as much as the bee stings have somewhat hooks on them, they only stick when they sting onto hard or rough surfaces and then tear off leading to the death of the bee soon after. However, if they sting onto soft or smooth surfaces, such as some parts of the human body, they are able to use it again. I have not verified this info myself, but even if its wrong, the stings are bad enough if you ask me.
If this hasnt done enough to compel you to always have the beekeeper suit on whenever you are working the bees, I dont know what will. This jumpsuit is just about all you need as far as beekeeping protective gear is concerned. Rather than just defining it, understanding the beehive should be among the first things you want to do.
Understanding the Beekeeping Suit
A beekeeper suit is basically a full jumpsuit or overall that consists of a hat or a hood and a veil. It is made up of strong material such as canvas or plastic that keeps the stings from penetrating and getting into contact with your body. There have been some new designs made from combinations of polyester and cotton that have helped a great deal in maneuverability while still providing adequate protection from those nasty stings.
The hood comes either permanently attached with an option of a zipper to loosen it and hang it on the back when not using it or it can come as a separate unit. The hat then holds the veil onto its wide brim (which must be at least six inches or more) keeping it from coming into contact with your face or skin as this will certainly expose you to the stings. For some queer instinct, bees will always attack the head and face region as they are attracted to your breath (breath??) Its an insect thing, you wouldnt know. This makes the hood, hat and the veil the most important components of your protective gear. Note that the sting is equally painful and irritable in your nether regions. I know all about it.
Your protective gear is not complete without a pair of elbow-length hand gloves with a rubber fastener around the end and some boots.
White is the color of the gear. Try some other color and the bees will be super aggressive! They perceive the dark colors as enemies. Is it any wonder really, as most of their enemies (like bears and raccoons) have dark coats? The color white tends to confuse or distract the bees making them less aggressive. Always carry a smoker just in case.
Article by Michael V. Taylor. Michael is a Long time Beekeeper, and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing hobby by sharing information about beekeeper suits. His newest book,”The Ultimate Beekeeping Guide” teaches Beekeepers everything they need to know about pruducing Honey.