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beekeeping starter kit

When people think of bees, the first thing they think about is getting stung.  On TV bees are often portrayed stinging and attacking people. The truth is, bees are generally not aggressive.  They really do not want to sting us. The only time a bee will sting is if they feel that their hive is being threatened or if you accidentally hurt them.  Beekeepers handle bees so much that getting stung once in a while is inevitable. Luckily, there are special clothes that protect beekeepers from stings. So, what do beekeepers wear to keep them safe?  

Beekeepers wear protective clothing to keep them from getting stung. They wear a bee suit, hat and veil, and gloves.

Beekeeper’s Clothes

Bee Suit

The clothes that beekeepers wear is called a bee suit, or a beekeeping suit. A full bee suit consists of long sleeves and long pants to protect the beekeeper.  Sometimes bee suits will come with a hat and veil as well.  

While wearing a bee suit it is important to check for gaps at the hands, feet, and neck, as these are areas that bees can get into your suit.  Full bee suits often have thumb holes and elastic and the hands and feet, and a zipper attaching the veil to the neckline to help with this. 

Bee Jacket

Bee Jackets are also commonly worn by beekeepers.  It is basically a long sleeved jacket made of (mostly) sting proof material.  Beekeepers usually wear thick jeans with a bee jacket. 

Hat and Veil

The protective head covering beekeepers wear is called a hat and veil.  It consists of a hat with a wide brim, with mesh hanging down to your shoulders.  A hat and veil is very important to wear when beekeeping because it protects your face and neck from stings.

Gloves 

Beekeepers also wear gloves to protect their hands.  Beekeeping gloves are made of thick cotton, or leather and cover up to the elbows. Alternately, some beekeepers use nitrile gloves instead, as they are thinner and more flexible.  

What are Bee Suits Made Of?

Bee suits are made of thick cotton canvas or several layers of mesh.

Bee suits are made of a thick cotton canvas. While cotton provides great defense against bee stings, it can also get quite hot, especially in the summer.  Ventilated bee suits are made of several layers of breathable mesh. The mesh material provides much more air flow than cotton. Most bee suits are white, as bees find lighter colors calming. 

Can Bees Sting Through a Bee Suit?

It is possible for bees to sting through a bee suit, but wearing a bee suit drastically reduces your chances of getting stung.

I’m sure most beginning beekeepers have wondered, can bees sting through a bee suit?  While bee suits offer the best protection against bee stings, the truth is that no bee suit is 100% sting proof.  It is possible for the bee’s stinger to go through the material. However, know that wearing a bee suit drastically reduces your chances of getting stung.  And if you do happen to get stung, it won’t be as bad as if you were wearing nothing.  

Where to Buy Beekeeping Suits

A bee suit is kind of a specialty item, so you likely won’t be able to walk into a store to purchase one.  But if you are a new beekeeper wondering where to buy beekeeping suits, you will find that there is a wide variety of bee suits for sale online.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Ventilated Bee Suit – Ultra Breeze Beekeeping Suit

Features

  • 3 layers of ventilated fabric to keep you cool and comfortable
  • Machine washable
  • Brass zippers
  • Includes detachable hood
  • Men’s sizing: X Small (34-inch neck-inseam, 5-feet tall, 100-pounds), Small (37-inch neck-inseam, 5-feet 5-inch tall, 130-pounds), Medium (37-inch neck- inseam, 5-feet 8-inch tall, 160-pounds), Large (38-inch neck-inseam, 6-feet + tall, 210-pounds), X Large (40-inch neck-inseam, 6-feet + tall, 260-pounds) and XX Large (41-inch neck- inseam, 6-feet +, 290+ pounds)

Information

Ultra Breeze makes a popular ventilated bee suit.  It is made of 3 layers of ventilated mesh fabric.  It’s durable polyester fabric offers great sting protection and is machine washable as well.  It also comes with a veil that is secured to the suit by a brass zipper. Sizes available are small – XX large.  Keep in mind that these are men’s sizes, so order accordingly.  

Beekeepers who have the Ultra Breeze say that the ventilation in this suit is great.  They also praise the design and fit of the suit, calling it comfortable and easy to put on and take off.  Another convenient feature of the Ultra Breeze bee suit is that it has pockets. While no bee suit is technically 100% sting proof, the Ultra Breeze is pretty close. Many beekeepers are happy to report not receiving a single sting while wearing it.  

See the Ultra Breeze Bee Suit Here

Affordable Bee Suit – Honey Keeper Professional Full Body Beekeeping Suit

Features

  • Full beekeeping suit and self supporting veil
  • Made of premium white cotton
  • Elastic bands at wrists and ankles
  • Heavy duty zipper
  • Machine washable
  • Measurements: Top of Hood to Ankle: 65″, Chest: 49″, Waist: 44″, Inseam: 27″ 

Information

The Honey Keeper Professional Beekeeping Suit is a wonderful affordable option for beekeepers. It is made of durable white cotton with elastic bands on the wrists and ankles. The veiled hood is self supporting and has wires to keep it’s shape. The design of the hood offers great visibility to the front and sides. The suit does run small, so it is recommended to size up for comfort.

See the Honey Keeper Beekeeping Suit Here

Beekeeping Jacket – VIVO Beekeeping Jacket

Features

  • Lightweight, protective fabric
  • Includes self supporting veiled hood
  • Hand washable
  • Large pocket on front for storage
  • Elastic wrist openings

Information

A more economical choice is the VIVO beekeeping jacket.  The material is cool and lightweight, while also protective against stings.  It comes with an attached hat and veil and elastic at the wrists of the jacket.  Overall, it is a good beekeeping jacket for the money.  

See the VIVO Beekeeping Jacket Here

Bee Suits for Women

Even though there are many women beekeepers, most beekeeping clothes is geared for men.  Of course women can wear any bee suit, but men’s sizing is often too large on them. There are many women beekeepers nowadays, so it’s surprising that there aren’t more bee suits for women available.  However, Natural Apiary’s Apiarist Beekeeping Suit is a great option for women beekeepers. Not only does it come in small sizes, it also comes in pink.   

Natural Apiary’s Apiarist Beekeeping Suit

Features

  • Premium bee suit with detachable fencing veil
  • Elastic at wrists and ankles
  • Machine washable
  • Made with 65% Cotton, 35% Polyester

Information

This bee suit for women is a cotton/polyester blend and comes with a zippered fencing style veil.  The neckline of this bee suit is reinforced with extra thick material and the waist is elasticized for comfort.  Sizes available are XXS – XXXL and if pink isn’t your color this bee suit also comes in camo, khaki, sand, and white.  Owners of this bee suit have called it lightweight, comfortable, and protective. This suit is not ventilated however, so it would be more suited for cooler climates.  If you don’t want a full suit, Natural Apiary also makes a pink bee jacket.

See Natural Apiary’s Bee Suit Here

Bee Suit for Child

With urban beekeeping, or backyard beekeeping rising in popularity, it is becoming a family affair.  Beekeeping is a wonderful experience which gives children the opportunity to learn about the ecosystem and sustainability.  Not only that, but it’s fun for them! It is important to keep kids safe and protected if they are participating in beekeeping.  Bee suits for kids are available in children’s sizes for little beekeepers.  

Luwint Kids Beekeeper Suit

Features

  • Full body beekeeping suit and detachable veil
  • Made of lightweight cotton
  • Machine washable
  • Elastic at wrists and ankles
  • 4 pockets

Information

The Luwint Kids Beekeeper Suit has all of the features of an adult bee suit, but in a much smaller size.  The full body suit is made of cotton and features elastic around the wrists and ankles.  It also includes a fencing style veil that attaches to the bee suit by a zipper.  

See the Luwint Kids Beekeeper Suit Here

VIVO Children’s Beekeeping Jacket

Features

  • Lightweight fabric creates protection against stings while keeping you cool
  • Hood zips partially off
  • Large pocket in the front
  • Elastic wrist openings
  • Hand washable
  • Measurements: 28″ from the brim of the hat to the elastic waistband, 18″ from shoulder to elastic sleeve, 17″ from the hood zipper to the elastic waistband.
  • Designed for children ages 7 to 9

Information

VIVO makes a great, affordable children’s beekeeping jacket.  Like the adult VIVO beekeeping jacket it features a hat and veil that zips partially off.  The veil includes a hat with a wide, stiff brim and black mesh to cover the face. There is elastic on both the wrist and waistband to prevent bees from getting in.  

The child bee suit and jacket both do not include gloves, so don’t forget to pick up a pair of Children’s Goatskin Beekeeping Gloves for added protection.  When choosing a bee suit for a child be sure to pay attention to the fit.  If they are in between sizes it is better to order a size up, as it’s better to have a bee suit with a looser fit. 

See the VIVO Children’s Beekeeping Jacket Here

Summary

Why do Beekeepers Wear Suits?

Beekeepers wear suits and veils to keep them protected from bee stings.  Beekeepers also wear jackets and gloves for added safekeeping. Specialty bee suits include ventilated suits, bee suits for women, and bee suits for kids. 

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