What Do I Need In A Beekeeping Suit?
Protective gear is essential for all beekeepers. It is a known fact that bees sting. While bees do not sting unless they feel threatened, they still sting and you cannot possibly know when they will feel threatened.
Different Types of Protective Gear
Even if you have been around the bees for a long period of time, never attempt to confront a bee hive without the following:
- Mesh veil
-Long hand protection (ie. gloves)
Each piece of protective gear is essential, and all are crucial to wear each time. The hat and veil will protect your face. A bee sting to the face can be painful and cause serious harm, especially to the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and neck. Imagine if a bee went up your nose! Bees tend to be attracted to your breath; therefore, bee stings are common around this area.
Gloves are not as critical, as you can scrape off the bee venom. Gloves tend to be awkward when you are trying to maneuver the parts of the hive. However, stings do not feel good, so if you can find a pair of long gloves that will allow you to work easily, then wear them.
The beekeeping suit will provide an extra layer of fabric protection against the stings of the bees.
Material of the Beekeeping Suit
Made of light-weight and smooth material, the suit is usually white or light coloured to prevent the bees from being threatened. Dark colours are associated with predators like bears. The smooth material is a contrast from the fur of the usual bee predators.
Maintenance of your Beekeeping Suit
It is essential that you clean your beekeeping suit after each time you visit the hive. Bees can smell the beekeeping suit. They recognize that the suit has been stung and will automatically put up a guard to defend themselves. To reduce the event of an automatic attack, remove stingers and venom sacks with a cloth. For more protection, dip your hands in vinegar.
Choosing Protective Gear
While choosing your beekeeping suit, consider the material and colour of the suit. As mentioned before, a light coloured and smooth textured material is important. Also keep the following in mind:
- It is important that you choose a suit that fits you just right, but is also comfortable. Pay particular attention to the arm and leg holes. Some suits have elastic at the cuffs and wrists. Others will have Velcro so that you can adjust to your specific size.
- Make sure the hat and veil you choose have good ventilation. Veils and hoods generally come in one-size-fits all.
- Quality is obviously a better investment. The suit should have solid stitching, rustproof zippers and boning will maintain the shape.
- Pay the little extra for the better protection.
Making your Own Beekeeping Suit
It is possible to make your own suit; however, it is important that you address all areas of your body. A white or light colored pair of coveralls will do the trick. However, you must make adjustments to the coveralls to turn them into a beekeeping suit.
As the suit will be covered with bee stings and venom, you should choose a larger suit. This will provide space between you and the cloth. the arms should reach to mid-hand and the legs should end under your foot.
For adjustments, you will sew elastic at the ankles and wrists. It is important that they are tight, but not too tight where they will cut off your circulation. Velcro should be sewn all around the neck of your coverall. You can also make your veil out of mosquito netting. Wear tight fitting boots and gloves.
Unless you are very confident in your beekeeping suit making abilities, you may want to look into buying one first. There are many locations to acquire a good quality beekeeping suit.
For beekeeping suit information and to receive 10 free lessons, visit Beekeeping Starter Guide