It’s wise to be frugal when considering new purchases. However, when that purchase involves one’s safety and wellbeing, cheaper is not always better. Sting-proof bee suits of quality can run anywhere from eighty to over a hundred dollars.
The elevated price, for even the basic designs, is to be expected. That is because of the various components a no-sting bee suit needs to have to be effective. All bets are off if the suit does not contain at least half a dozen easily-accessible pockets, a free-standing veil, velcro around the ankles and wrists, and double-stitching for all the seams.
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There are five elements of the bee suit that one needs to pay attention to in the selection and purchase process. These elements provide enhanced safety, improved comfort, and adequate mobility – the three things that make working with bees a pleasure.
Bee Keeper’s Hat
The hat has multiple objectives to pursue. First, it provides a brim from which the net of the veil can hang. It would not be of any use to drape the net close to the skin. Second, the hat provides shade when working outdoors and protect the eyes from the sun’s glare.
The veil is one of the most important of the entire ensemble. It gives you the ventilation you need while protecting you from the bees. The problem is that it can’t be too long or too short. Short veils don’t provide any protection.
That much is obvious. However, if it is too long, it presents a different problem. It could reduce mobility to provide gaps for the bees to enter. For this reason, and others, a proper fit, shape of the hat, and the length of the veil are important.
There are three kinds to choose from, the round, the square, and the fencing veil. The round offers superior ventilation, unobstructed views, and rotational dexterity. The use of this in the summer is advisable since it results in the best ventilation.
The square veil has its advantages but is more restrictive than the round. It is less desirable in the summer. In the colder months, it can provide better heat retention. It also protects better than the round veil. They are also foldable, giving you a better way to store them.
Then there is the most modern and stylish of all the veils – the fencing veil. It doesn’t mess up your hair and offers adequate ventilation. Don’t get this one if you have a crew-cut hairstyle or bald.
There are two concerns when choosing the bee suit’s fabric. The first is its durability. The second is the ventilation it offers. Being closed up from head to toe can become a stifling proposition. Durability determines the longevity of the suit, but more importantly, it determines safety. It would be easy to pile on extra layers, but that would affect ventilation and comfort. There is always a trade-off between the two concerns.
There are various kinds of fabric used to make bee suits. The best bang for the buck is either aerated or ventilated polycotton. As the portmanteau implies, it is a blend of polyester and cotton. The aerated suit is designed with a gap between the skin and the fabric so that the bee’s stinger can penetrate the suit but not reach the skin. The fabric is woven into a mesh that allows the transfer of air while keeping you protected.
Ventilated suits, on the other hand, are triple-layered and include a perforated foam core that promotes the exchange of air between layers. It also provides added protection against rips in the outer core.
When choosing a bee suit consider the climate. If you are working in a seasonal environment, get multiple suits that provide differing ventilation and cooling for different seasons.
You can learn how to choose best bee suits here.
Then there are the gloves. They must provide good protection, sufficient thickness to prevent stingers from penetrating and be easy to put on and remove. More importantly, your glove must be able to afford you the ability to use your digits without impediment.
Bees may not like you, but they certainly hate your hands. It is the part that comes into the most contact with them and the part of you that will raise their ire. Protect your hands well.
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Finally, be cognizant about fitting. Improperly fitted sting-proof bee suits are both a hazard and will ruin your fun. It will be warm, it will compromise your safety, and it will be cumbersome. Make sure you get the proper fit and it will make all the difference. (pdf file)