The best beekeeping protective gear helps you feel comfortable during hive inspections. Keeping your gear clean and properly stored also increases its lifespan and effectiveness.
The most common protective gear is a full suit, including a veil attached or zipped into the jacket. However, these suits are not stingproof.
Choosing the proper size for your protective beekeeping gear & clothing is essential to its effectiveness. If your suit or jacket is too big, bees can find a way inside, and you may lose protection from stings. If it is too small, it can restrict your movement and become uncomfortable during use.
A beekeeper’s suit or jacket should fit comfortably, and a good rule of thumb is to choose one size larger than your normal clothing size. This will allow you to move freely without losing protection from stings. Additionally, make sure your gloves and veil are properly fitted to prevent bees from entering these areas of your body. Regularly checking and cleaning your beekeeping gear will ensure it stays in optimal condition for years.
For those who wear a full bee suit for safety reasons (such as newbies), ventilated options are important. A suit or jacket made of a heavy-duty cotton cloth or a cotton/poly blend is comfortable and offers good protection. However, it will become boiling if worn during warm weather. To avoid this, look for a beekeeping suit ventilated with foam and mesh panels to allow air, but not the bees. These suits and jackets also offer a round veil that helps to keep bees clear of your face, which is another great way to protect yourself from unnecessary stings during hive inspections or honey harvesting. Proper care and cleaning are essential to extend the life of your protective clothing.
While balancing comfort and cost is essential, safety must be paramount. Taking risks and working with bees without proper protective gear is not wise, especially for new beekeepers.
A ventilated jacket or bee suit is a great option for the hot Texas summers. These suits or jackets offer three layers of fabric with a mesh layer that prevents stingers from reaching your skin.
Another option is a veil that is built into the jacket or suit. This is faster to put on and provides adequate protection. Some veils form a cylinder around the head, while others are designed more like fencing that prevents stings when bees land on your face or helmet. The type of bees you own will also play a role in your choice of protective gear.
No matter what protective gear you choose, it must fit correctly. If it’s tight enough, you may avoid losing talent and be unable to work with the hive effectively. If it is too loose, you might expose yourself to stings. A beekeeper’s sting resistance will also vary by age and past experiences with the hive. New beekeepers are advised to be cautious and to avoid provoking the bees, especially during the robbing season and at the hottest time of day.
Investing in protective beekeeping gear is one of the best ways to ensure your safety when tending to your hives. A single bee sting can cause significant pain or even an allergic reaction, so having the right equipment for the job is essential. Synthetic fabrics offer more sting protection than cotton and can resist punctures, making bees less likely to sting through them into your skin. They also have better breathability than cotton, which helps prevent overheating in hot weather conditions. It’s important to clean and sanitize your protective gear after each use. This will help prolong the lifespan of your suit and make it more effective in protecting against bee stings. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your gear.