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What To Wear With A Beekeeping Suit

What To Wear With A Beekeeping Suit

If you arent sure what to wear with a beekeeping suit then you have come to the right place.

You should always wear a good pair of gloves and boots alongside a beekeeping suit, but you can also choose alternative items of clothing such as jackets as well.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why a suit is the best option, and what the alternatives are.

Beekeeping Suits

For the most protection, wear full beekeeping suits when working in your apiary or around your bees. These are typically coveralls with long sleeves and pantlegs for optimal coverage. You usually find them with a hood that has a zip-on or Velcro veil to protect the face.

Buyers will find these available most often in cotton, nylon, or a special ventilated material.

Cotton

Cotton or polycotton suits are the most popular and most common beekeeping suits found. These are washable, lightweight, and typically have lots of pockets and extra features. Look for a suit with a hive tool pocket on the pantleg for added ease when tending bees.

Nylon

Nylon suits may fit tighter, so size up, but are usually lighter and cooler than cotton suits. Bees have more difficulty stinging you through the slick surface of the nylon, too.

These are easy to store as nylon doesn’t wrinkle and is inherently water-repellent. Prices are comparable with cotton, depending on the features and quality of each suit.

Ventilated Fabric

If you live in a warm climate, beekeeping suits in ventilated fabric may make the most sense. Usually, these involve a couple of layers of fabric with an absorbent waffle layer and material with fine holes for air and circulation.

These suits are cooler to wear but may feel heavier to lift. Bees will have a very tough time stinging you through this type of fabric.

Beekeeping Jackets

Don’t want to wear the full beekeeping suit? That is okay- perhaps a beekeeping jacket is a better option for you! These can be worn with your regular jeans or pants (go with light colors if you don’t want to get stung!) and they usually offer the same features as a suit.

You should find beekeeping jackets in the same fabric options, and these make a great backup for your beekeeping suit, too.

Having several options available for protecting yourself when working in your apiary makes sense- and ensures you are less vulnerable to getting stung.

What to Look For 

When you look for beekeeping suits and jackets, you are basically searching for protective clothing, which you will find in a wide range of quality and prices. It may come down to your distinct climate, budget, and preferences. Fit is important when it comes to protective apparel and clothing.

Here is what to look for when buying beekeeping suits and jackets:

  • Beekeeping clothing needs to be thick enough so the skin does not get penetrated by stingers if you are stung.
  • Don’t let cost be your main criterion. A cheap, thin suit is not going to last- nor will it offer adequate protection.
  • Make sure that the suit or jacket has wrist, waist, and ankle openings secured with Velcro or elastic to pull them snugly and prevent bees from getting inside.
  • Thumb loops really do have a purpose! In this instance, thumb loops on your jacket or suit will keep the sleeves from riding up during your tasks.
  • Metal zippers are more durable and last longer than plastic zippers.
  • Check customer reviews online to ensure you order the proper size and avoid the need to return your purchase later.  
  • Make sure that you have plenty of room when wearing protective clothing to move around freely and without restriction.
  • Choose jackets and suits with multiple pockets to hold and contain necessary items when beekeeping.
  • Select a hood with a fine mesh shield that allows for visibility while protecting your face.

When buying a beekeeping suit or jacket, always look for and prioritize quality workmanship. It is well worth the investment.

A beekeeper lifting a honey bee frame

Beekeeping Gloves

Gloves protect your hands during beekeeping tasks, but many beekeepers find them bulky and cumbersome when handling frames.

That’s why many beekeepers forego gloves. There are gloves that will fit the hands tighter and more closely, for easier manipulation and movement, but that still offer protection against stings. Here is what you should know:

  • Beekeeping gloves are usually made of leather for durability and protection. They can be clumsy to work with, but you will become accustomed to wearing them with time.  
  • Wearing beekeeping gloves can also make you more confident, and less anxious, when tending hives. Protecting your hands can help to build your comfort level working with the bees.
  • Beekeeping gloves are particularly pragmatic for new or novice beekeepers.
  • Look for gloves with vents that will keep you cool during warm weather beekeeping.
  • Choose quality gloves that will last over time, unless you are seeking a budget-friendly option that you can throw away and replace often. Higher quality gloves will also be easier to clean and maintain for years to come.

Some beekeepers like to wear latex disposable gloves with a long cuff for arm protection. They can be tossed out after being worn a time or two. Also, latex will make your hands sweat but should protect you from stings.

Beekeeping Boots

Beekeeper boots are something that many beekeepers skip, but they can help to keep you protected against bees defending their honey. Beekeeping boots ensure that the bees cannot find their way under your pantleg to sting you.

Choose resilient materials, like leather or rubber, that can hold up to honey and moisture, but also slip-proof treads to prevent a nasty fall. Ideally, you will have a dedicated pair of beekeeping boots that you wear and store with your suit, jacket, or other beekeeping apparel, so it is safe and accessible as needed.

Check out the options available online for beekeeping clothing that will protect you- but that is still comfortable to wear. Keeping yourself covered can help prevent stings when tending hives- which is incentive enough to consider wearing beekeeping apparel!