Bee Suit – "Insider's" Guide

A bee suit is a must, if you are a beekeeper. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll never wear a suit?” You will wear a suit, if you are a beek.

Bee Suits vary with the experience of the beek, but everyone who works with bees will have a bee suit of some form or fashion.

The essential part of your bee suit that should never be left off is the veil. Your eyesight is too important to take a chance with. At the very least you should always wear a veil. It is not worth taking the risk of losing an eye from a sting. [Not to mention, without a veil it is easier to lose your concentration and start waving at the bees in you face.  Waving at bees almost always ends up with a sting.]

You may hear "Wear thick, long clothes, tuck your pants into thick socks" This may not always be the best advice simply because you really need more information than that. Protection from stings is the main purpose of your bee suit, but your comfort and ease of working is also important. There are several factors that should be considered in selecting your "Bee Suit."

  • The color your clothing is important to consider. Bees tend to be more aggressive to dark colors. Wearing light-colored clothing when working with bees can therefore help diminish the possibility of getting a sting.
  • The composition of the material is important too. Avoid clothing that is made from animal products. Bees can become more agitated if they sense products that come from animals such as : wool, leather, fur hats. [Besides the agitation potential, these materials tend to make much warmer clothing, and you will be working in the sun on warm days. You will be sweating enough already. You might as well be as cool as possible.]
  • Comfort is another important factor.  You will be WORKING, so wear clothing that is as comfortable as possible while providing you with the amount of protection and support you desire.

Beekeeping suits include some or all of the items listed below:

  • Veil – This an absolute must for any Beekeeper. These come in various shapes and styles, with or without a hat.
  • Gloves – usually reach over the elbows. With experience you may wear these less and less.
  • Suit – overalls, jacket, etc. that protect against bee stings. [It provides mental comfort against the inevitable…ALL beeks get stung at some point!]


o In lieu of a full beekeeping suit, jackets with or without attached veils are also available.

o To save the money on the beekeeping suit [to spend on other equipment] you can wear a white or light colored shirt and light colored pants or even jeans.

o It seems the more experienced a beek is, the less money they spend on their beekeeping suits, and the less bee suit they wear.

  • Leg Bands  – These will keep the bees from climbing where you don't want the to go.  When you are working with bees, some will always end up on the ground around you. If they don’t fly back up, they will climb whatever is available…

This is one thing I learned about keeping bees the hard way! It is not a good feeling whether you get stung on the ankle/leg or not. I can speak from experience![There is nothing more disconcerting than feeling a bee climbing up your leg under your pants on the way home, whether driving or walking!]

Always remember…”Bees go UP and Sweat runs DOWN.”

When you work with bees, you WILL sweat.

  • Footwear – Good sturdy footwear is essential. You will be working on sometimes uneven ground and lifting heavy wooden boxes [supers] full of bees and honey. If you collect swarms, or do cut outs and trap outs you will at some point be working on ladders, and will need the support for your feet, ankles, and legs.
  • Back brace –Protect your back for the future.  As state above, you will be working on sometimes uneven ground and lifting heavy supers full of bees and honey. You want to be able to keep keeping bees for a long time to come.

As you consider what your "Beekeeping Suit" will entail. Remember to keep the aspects of protection and comfort as a priority.

You don't need to worry about how you look, because the bees aren't going to pay you any attention UNLESS you excite them...

There is one other piece of equipment that isn’t necessarily clothing, but is just as vital for the protection of the beekeeper...the smoker is one of the most used pieces of all beekeeping equipment.

Virtually every time a beek puts on a beekeeping suit, he lights his smoker.

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