Why Do You Need a Beekeeping Suit?
Article by Martin Broad
Although generally docile creatures, bees can be known to attack humans if they approach their hive. Obviously part of your role as a beekeepers is to inspect your colony on a regular basis and remove honey, so it is important to wear protective equipment when you are around bees. Having a beekeeping suit is a great way to ensure that you can work freely and confidently around your bees without being stung.
Beekeeping suits are full length and are usually very thick. This means that the stingers of the bees cannot easily pass through the clothing and strike the skin. Suits are lightweight to help beekeepers move around freely while working with their bees and are also usually white. This ensure that the bees do not get the beekeeper confused with some of their natural predators such as bears, which are usually dark brown.
Wearing a suit is also helpful as it envelops the keeper in an external layer that can be removed later. Any stingers or venom sacs that do get caught in the suit will end up being removed safely. However, it is important to remember to wash your suit after every visit to the hive. Stingers that are left in the suit can continue to pump out venom long after they become detached from the bee. Powerful pheromones are also released by these stingers that will encourage other bees in the area to enter ‘attack’ mode, and so to wear a suit with these stingers still in them on the next trip to the colony would cause problems.
Along with the suit, beekeepers will usually wear gloves and a hat and veil. The face is the most important area for a beekeeper to protect, particularly as bees are often drawn to the mouth area by the person’s breath. Over time, expert beekeepers can approach a hive without some of the equipment. Many choose not to use gloves once they become used to their bees as they can perform more intricate tasks easier without them. Indeed, some beekeepers can approach a hive without even having any protection over their face, although you should only attempt this is you are very experienced.
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For more information on how to use a beekeeping suit, visit www.beekeepingcentre.com.