Guide written by:
Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester
A good quality beekeeping outfit and equipment are essential for ensuring the safety of the beekeeper while working in the apiary. Veils, complete suits, gloves, hive tools and smokers are also an integral part of remaining safe, while harvesting honey and maintaining the hives, an essential function of beekeeping.
- Hive tool
- Bee brush
Beekeeper outfit and beekeeping equipment: working safely
There are numerous routine tasks that need to be complete in an apiary and this, throughout the year. Some involve working with the hives, while other tasks will be farther away and disturb the bees less. No matter what the project, all work in this area will guarantee a certain exposure to the risks of bee stings.
These risks are more present when you are just starting out in beekeeping. Something as tiny as a sudden or awkward gesture can result in a disturbance for the bees, quickly making them particularly aggressive. With experience, the right gestures become more and more precise, allowing beekeepers to easily perform most operations in the apiary without triggering any aggressive behavior.
No matter what the task, a beekeeper's outfit makes it possible to work in good conditions while protecting the user against any possibility of getting stung. It is an integral part of of the many other beekeeping accessories, many of which are complementary to each other but can, in some cases, be used separately.
A beekeeper 's outfit consists of a full suit, worn loose and accompanied by a hat, which holds up a veil. Some suits will come with only the veil, in which case the user will need to supply it's own hat or cap to keep the veil off the face. This is a very important detail, because if veil is blown too close to the user's face because of the wind, it will leave the face vulnerable to stings. For this reason, the veil must always be kept away at a distance the face.
The ends of a beekeeper's suit are generally elastic. It they are not, it's best to be equipped with elastic gloves or sleeves and to cover your shoes and the bottom of your pants with a protective legging to avoid leaving any opening where bees could get in. A typical beekpeeing outfit is usually white, or very light colors, is some rare cases. This is for a simple reason, as dark or bright colors trigger aggressive behavior in bees and should be avoided at all costs.
There are several accessories designed specifically to ensure a beekeeper's safety during any intervention in the apiary. Among them, we also count the different parts of the beekeeper's outfit, which can also be purchased separately:
- A hat and veil is designed to protect the face. Be very careful to check that it is perfectly sealed, especially in the neck area, as bees have an unfortunate tendency to seek any way by which to sneak in;
- Protective gloves, the best of which are gloves that have been specially designed for beekeeping and are guaranteed to completely stop bee stings, are elastic, which makes them waterproof;
- Beekeeper pants and jacket, which can be used together or separately and offer an optimal level of protection, all the while allowing for a great range of movement.
It's important to note that beekeepers may use all or only a part of these safety measures, depending on their experience and the task at hand.
Other beekeeping equipment
While a beekeeper suit is meant to protect the user, other types of equipment are designed to intervene in the apiary, albeit safely. Among these types of accessories, smokers are by far the most common trade tool. So much so that a popular saying among beekeepers jokingly states that it is better to forget a veil than a smoker. This small tool is essential because it is responsible for freeing the frames of bees during any type of handling, including when harvesting honey. The device works by expulsing a smoke that drives bees away without disturbing or injuring them.
Another safety device for the apiary is a water sprayer, particularly useful for pacifying a small amount of bees if they get too agressive. A sprayer can also be used to administer treatments, in which case it must be cleaned carefully after each use.
A hive tool is another important tool that ensures not only the beekeeper's safety, but also that of the bees by reducinghow much of the frame's surface must be lifted to harvest honey, limiting the risk of accidentally dropping it or damaging it during the intervention.
While a bee brush is very useful for clearing frames, using it does run the risk of spreading diseases to your healthy hives due to its previous contact with infected hives.
Getting into beekeeping is a big leap of faith. It's best to know what you are getting yourself into! To do just that follow the links below for apiculture-related accessories, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:
- How to get started in beekeeping?
- How to choose your bee hive?
- How to feed your bees?
- How to harvest your hives and make honey?
- How to choose your honey maturator and extractor?
- How to choose your essential hive accessories?
- How to decorate and lay out your garden?
- How to choose your garden's flowery trees and plants?
- How to choose your flowery mix?
- How to choose your conifers, trees and shrubs?
- How to choose the right species of hedge plants?
- How to choose your hedge cutting tools?
- How to choose your fence?
- How to properly treat your fruit trees?
- How to protect your fruit trees against birds and insects?
- How to choose your gardening clothes and accessories?
- How to spot these 10 plants that are harmful to your garden and home?
Guide written by:
Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester, 49 guides
For several years I have been running a garden service with a clientele of both individuals and companies. I manage a team of gardeners and ensure the creation and maintenance of green spaces. At the same time, I bring my expertise to my clients in terms of the maintenance and improvement of their gardens. In fact, as a trainee and working in the hospitality industry at the beginning of my career, I focused on landscaping in a local community where I acquired solid technical skills through in-house training and the follow-up of major projects in a rapidly changing town. On a personal level, I am equally oriented towards the art of gardening. With my wife, I created our garden from start to finish and I maintain it carefully, the same goes for the vegetable garden. As for DIYing, it’s not to be outdone. Yes, gardening is also tinkering: pergola, hut, pavement, fence, and so on...There is always something to do in a garden. After working well together, my wife and I are proud of the result and delighted to be able to take full advantage of a friendly and warm environment. So, let us give you advice and help you in your choice of tools, maintenance, or improvement of your garden, nothing could be simpler.