Bee Suits – Find the Perfect Bee Suit for you!
There’s precious few people in the world who enjoy being stung by bees – save for probably teenagers with under-developed frontal lobes and a hankering for more social media attention. Cue the beekeeper’s protective clothing, your first line of protection and the key to making your honey journey as enjoyable as possible.
Here’s your 101 to make sure you end up with the best bee keeper suit for your money while working on your beehive, read carefully there’s a quiz at the end (just kidding).
Step 1: Bee Suit or Bee Jacket?
This is the first big question we need to answer here. Here’s some valuable information to make sure you make the best choice for your needs.
Ventilated Bee Jacket
A ventilated bee keeping jacket is the go to for the apiarist who is performing light work with well mannered bees. If you’re performing a quick inspection, installing new frames, splitting a colony or just general work around your bees, a beekeeping jacket is the best choice. Buyer beware! A bee keeping jacket may expose the beekeeper’s worst nightmare – the dreaded plumber’s crack!
This offering from Ultra Breeze is considered the best on the market.
A beesuit is your best option if you are dealing with hostile colonies, the dreaded tipped over colony, a removal or you have an allergy to bee venom. It goes without saying that a full suit is the best choice for ultimate protection.
Step 2: What Type Of Fabric Should My Beekeeping Suit Be Made Of?
If you’re new to the apiary game you’ll find the fabric choices a bit daunting. Whether you go for a bee keeper’s jacket or the full suit, you need to know the differences in the fabrics available to find the best suit for you.
Polycotton or Cotton Bee Suit?
These are the most basic in construction but represent the best value in the world of bee suits and jackets. Choosing a 100% pure cotton suit will give you great sting protection but sacrifices breathability. This is the best choice for those of you with mild summers. A polyblend (roughly a 65% cotton / 35% polyester blend) improves breathability but is slightly less resistant to stings.
The choice of colors, reasonable pricing and their poly cotton blend has made this Natural Apiary suit a winner:
Ventilated or Aerated Bee Suit?
Ventilated and aerated suits up the tech significantly. The basic idea here is to create a barrier or zone between the outer layer of the fabric and your skin. This zone is too large for the bee’s stinger to penetrate. This is achieved by sandwiching a foam core in synthetic layers.
Ventilated suits are mostly a polycotton or cotton suit with panels of aerated material. Aerated suits add foam panels, usually around the chest area, to improve protection and airflow. As you’ll see, while this improves breathability incredibly, you pay for the privilege.
Step 3: What Type Of Veil Should My Bee Keeping Suit Have?
Short answer: a veil that is attached to your bee suit or bee jacket. While you can get a veil that is separate to your suit you are running a greater risk of literally getting a bee in your bonnet!
Whichever veil you choose, keep in mind that your veil needs to deliver a large distance between your skin and the mesh. Bees instinctively attack the face or head of any animal they deem a threat. If your skin is touching the mesh, you’re susceptible to getting stung.
Your beekeeper’s suit or jacket will come with three main choices of veils:
Many a keen apiarist swears that the rounded veils are the best veils. Well if you’re not too fashion conscious and are keen to wear a hat, they are. A wide field of vision, adequate distance between your face and the mesh and breathability are the keys to their popularity.
A newer addition to bee suits, fencing veils are a becoming a popular choice. No hat is required as the veil uses a wire frame to keep its shape. Maintaining an adequate distance between your face and the mesh can be tricky but easily achievable. This is a popular choice for those with styled hair.
The priority here is both an excellent field of vision and foldability. Square veils come in two pieces – the veil itself and a hard hat. These fold flat to decrease the space your bee keeping gear takes up. Add to this that a square veil has admirable breathability and you have an excellent choice.
So, What’s The Best Bee Keeper Suit For Me?
I wish I could answer this for you but I can’t. Read reviews, talk to your local beekeepers or members of your local beekeeping club, consider your personal situation, and also your apiary set up.
Good luck and get out there.