With your hive tool, smoker, and other must-have equipment in hand, you approach your beehive with eagerness, excited to discover what wonderful things your bees are doing. However, before you even take a step closer, you need to protect yourself from your bees. This is where a beekeeper jacket and other similar gear come in handy.
Unlike an average person who seems to irrationally believe that bees sting to live and will always take chances to do so, beekeepers are more familiar with the behavior of these insects. The truth is that bees are not really that eager to sting unlike what most people believe. However, there will always be a chance to get a sting or two. Thankfully, all it takes is quality protective clothing to lessen the risks of stings.
Take a look at some of the things you need to keep yourself safe from stings:
Start with a Protection for Your Head
Never, ever compromise at this part. Even though you might be comfortable around your bees, always keep your head protected. The last thing you want is for you to get stung near your eyes, something that is never good at all.
Veil and Hat
Veils come in two main types. There are those that form a cylinder around your head while others feature a vertical front element sometimes known as fencing veil. Any of these two types work well but make sure you choose one with a rigid design to be sure that the veil stays away from your face every time you turn and bend down.
A beekeeper jacket is a very popular choice of clothing for beekeepers as opposed to full body suits. These jackets are faster to wear and their design is usually integrated with a veil. A good quality jacket comes with strong zippers and thumb hooks that will help you insert your jacket’s arms into your gloves. The zipper between the veil and the jacket must be easy to engage as well.
You can find jackets in both non-ventilated and ventilated versions. The ventilated ones are very valuable and beneficial when you are working under the heat of the sun, making them a highly recommended option. Nothing can be as unfortunate as aborting a scheduled hive inspection all because you feel overheated. The amazing ventilated materials used today do a wonderful job to reduce this possibility.
One area where more seasoned beekeepers often push back when it comes to protective clothing is with the use of gloves. Obviously, it is never fun to get stings to the hand but this is less concerning compared to stings to your head. There is also the argument that gloves tend to reduce the finesse and touch when doing a hive inspection. It may be true in a way but most beekeepers actually use gloves at all times and they do just fine on top of staying protected from stings.
You can choose from different types of gloves. In general, go for a lightweight glove and a ventilated version if possible.
Aside from a beekeeper jacket, some other protective clothing you will need include pants, boots, and bee suits.