If you’ve ever seen a beekeeper in action, you may have noticed that they’re wearing a strange-looking suit. However, this suit is actually designed to protect the beekeeper from bee stings.
You may also see that seasoned beekeepers often forgo sting protection when handling hives. They usually have extensive experience, know how to handle bees’ aggression, and may have developed immunity to bee venom by this point, reducing the severity of their reaction upon being stung.
However, in most cases, beekeepers need to be prepared for the possibility of being stung. After all, bees are animals, and they will act in defense of their hive if they feel threatened. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about beekeeping protective clothing.
Why Wear Protective Clothing When Dealing With Bees?
Whether someone is harvesting honey for its health benefits, to include it in CBD products, or to raise bees for pollination services, it is important to take the necessary precautions when handling them. Bee stings can be incredibly painful, especially if you receive multiple at once.
For most people, a bee sting will cause localized swelling and redness. However, those who are allergic to bee stings may experience a more severe reaction, such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling in the throat. In severe cases, anaphylactic shock may occur, which can be fatal if not treated immediately.
It’s important to wear beekeeping protective clothing if you’re going to be working with bees. This clothing will help to keep you safe from bee stings, and it will also help to keep the bees calm.
What Does Beekeeping Protective Clothing Look Like?
Beekeeping protective clothing typically consists of a full-body suit, gloves, and a veil. Since bees are attracted to light colors, the suits are white to attract them away from the beekeeper’s face and to keep them from feeling threatened. The material is also fairly thick, in order to prevent bee stings from penetrating.
What Is a Beekeeping Suit Made Of?
Beekeeping suits are made of thick, durable fabric that covers the entire body. The suit typically includes a hood, gloves, and boots to protect the beekeeper’s head, hands, and feet. The hood is usually made of mesh, which allows the beekeeper to see what they’re doing while also keeping bees out. Beekeeping gloves are usually made of cow leather or another thick, durable material. They cover the entire hand and wrist, providing protection against stings.
The boots are also made of thick, durable material, and they typically extend up to the beekeeper’s knees. This is to protect the beekeeper’s legs from being stung. The white part of the suit that covers the beekeeper’s body is usually made of heavy cotton and mesh netting. This is to keep the beekeeper cool, as beekeeping can be a very hot and sweaty activity.
Types of Beekeeping Veils
There are a few different types of veils for beekeeping suits. Round veils offer you full visibility with only one seam on the back. With 360° of mesh, rounded veils provide great ventilation while you work. They can be worn with a helmet or hat, and often have drawstrings or elastic on the bottom for a tight closure. They also come equipped with zippers for attaching to bee suits. The Alexander veil is a round, cloth top cover that fits snugly around your head with an elastic band. Many beekeepers choose to wear a cap underneath the cover nonetheless.
Different from a round veil, a square veil (or folding veil) is held in place by seams. This type of veil provides wearers with more visibility because it does not come close to the face. Additionally, these veils fold flat for easy storage.Hooded veils, also known as fencing veils, are typically made of mesh material and can be zipped onto a bee suit or jacket. The advantage of this type of veil is that the front and side views are not obstructed. Since there is no mesh on the back, hooded veils do not allow for much airflow.
How to Care for Your Beekeeping Suit
Like any other white-colored article of clothing, a beekeeping suit will require some special care to keep it looking its best. If you’re a beekeeper who spends a lot of time working with your hives, you know that your suit will see a lot of wear and tear.
Your beekeeping suit is an important part of your beekeeping equipment, and it needs to be well-maintained in order to protect you from bee stings. Here are a few tips for caring for your beekeeping suit.
- Inspect your beekeeping suit before each use. Look for any tears or holes in the fabric, and make sure that the zippers are functioning properly.
- If you find any damage to your beekeeping suit, repair it immediately. Use a needle and thread to sew up any holes, and replace any broken zippers.
- After each use, you need to clean a beekeeping suit in cool water with a mild detergent. Hang your suit up to dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.
- When you’re not using your beekeeping suit, store it in a cool, dry place. If possible, hang your suit up so that it doesn’t get wrinkled.
With proper care, your beekeeping suit will last for years. And by taking good care of your suit, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand—keeping your bees healthy and happy.
What to Do If You Get Stung
Even with the best beekeeping suit, there’s always a chance that you’ll get stung. If you get stung, here is a step-by-step guide for what to do.
- Remove the stinger as quickly as possible. Scrape it off with your fingernail or a credit card. Do not use tweezers, as this can squeeze more venom into your skin.
- Apply a cold pack to the area to reduce swelling.
- If you’re allergic to bee stings, seek medical attention immediately.
- If you’re not allergic to bee stings, monitor the area for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
- Wash the area with soap and water, and apply an antibiotic ointment if necessary.
As a beekeeper, it’s important to have the right equipment, and that includes a beekeeping suit that fits well and provides adequate protection. With proper care, your beekeeping suit will last for years. If you’re ever unlucky enough to get stung, just follow the steps above to ensure that you’re taking care of the area properly.
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