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Right clothes for the job

I love beekeeping—it is the only time in my life I have been a size 6! Being new to beekeeping I have gone for the full zipped-hood bee suit. Some may think it is overkill, but I really don’t like stings.

What’s a calming colour for bees? In this second post of Janet Luke’s series on beekeeping she explains the clothing needed to keep bees. Denim jeans, she says, make bees angry.

I love beekeeping—it is the only time in my life I have been a size 6! Being new to beekeeping I have gone for the full zipped hood bee suit. Some may think it is overkill, but I really don’t like stings. This suit is like a white cotton boilersuit with an attached zipped hood. It has elastic at the ankles and wrists to keep any curious bees out. I bought it through Arataki Honey, which is just down the road from me. (Other suppliers in New Zealand include Ceracell and Ecroyd.) Beekeeping is obviously experiencing a surge in popularity as I had to wait  four  weeks for the arrival of my suit.

Along with the suit you need gloves of some description. Washing-up gloves will suffice, but long-sleeved leather gloves are the Rolls Royce’ choice. Gumboots with thick socks are the last fashion accessory for any discerning beekeeper. Plan to spend around $150 for a full bee suit (a simple hat and veil will be a lot less) and $40 for leather gloves with arm gauntlets. By looking on Trade Me or advertising at your local beekeeping club you may be able to find some second-hand gear.

If you have ever wondered why bee suits are white, it’s because it is a calming colour for bees. Blue does the opposite, it can make them aggressive, so forgo the Levi’s when you are with your bees.

If you have ever wondered why bee suits are white, it is because it is a calming colour for bees. Blue does the opposite, it can make them aggressive, so forgo the Levi’s when you are with your bees.

As my confidence grows when handling my bees, I may even become one of those beekeepers who only use their bare hands to handle their frames, but for now I’m not getting any brownie points for bravery! Beekeeping for me is not going to be enjoyable if I am getting stung everything I open up  the hive.

What next?

Last month Janet began this series on beekeeping with a post on top bar beehives, a cheaper and easier way of  getting started. Her next post will discuss the easy-to-find equipment needed for managing the hive.

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