Which beekeeper suit is best?
Beekeeping is a satisfying, sustainable and potentially lucrative activity. As beekeeping grows in popularity, many novice beekeepers may look for the perfect suit to keep them safe and comfortable during those long days spent maintaining the hive or harvesting the delicious honey.
Shopping for a suit can be overwhelming since choosing the wrong one could result in painful stings or an unsafe environment for the bees, as the buzzing pollinators die after stinging. The following guide details everything you need to know when looking for the most comfortable, safe and budget-friendly beekeeping suit.
Do I really need a beekeeper suit?
When you’re actively maintaining a hive or harvesting honey, long sleeves and gardening gloves are simply not enough protection for you or the bees. With up to 60,000 bees residing in a single hive, even the most seasoned beekeepers will usually don protective gear of some kind to prevent any curious bees from finding their way up a sleeve or pant leg. In addition to providing protection, a well-built suit can give you the peace of mind needed to calmly and confidently care for your hive.
What to consider when shopping for a beekeeper suit
The number one thing to consider when shopping for a beekeeper suit is the safety of you and the bees. Full-length jumpsuits are naturally the most effective as they protect your entire body from stings. Look for layered fabric and a sealed, elastic fit at the wrists and ankles. For your hands and feet, a loose fit that allows you to move freely provides additional air space between the stingers and your skin.
While beekeeper suits can come in many different colors, seek out lighter shades like white and gray since angry bees are attracted to dark colors. Some beekeepers would rather not wear a full-body jumpsuit. Instead, invest in beekeeping pants, gloves or a beekeeping jacket. The key thing to remember is that the more covered you are, the more protected you will be.
Comfort and ventilation
Ventilation is a significant factor to consider when shopping for a beekeeper suit, particularly if you reside in an area with a warmer climate. Durable fabrics like canvas, nylon, cotton and polyester provide excellent protection from stings but offer little ventilation if not correctly constructed, leaving you at risk of overheating. Look for a beekeeper suit that utilizes layered mesh fabric or foam.
Whether you’re harvesting honey or inspecting the hive, it’s unlikely that you’ll spend much time standing still while beekeeping. A flexible fabric that doesn’t expose body parts when twisting or bending is crucial when searching for a beekeeper suit. Some suits come with reinforced knee pads for the time you’ll spend kneeling.
A proper veil will also make you more comfortable when working on the hive. The traditional round veil offers a wide field of vision and is attached to the brim of a hat. Look for one with a tight seal around the neck so curious bees can’t find their way inside. Fencing veils are another popular choice. These veils attach to the hood of the beekeeper suit and offer a tighter fit than round veils but can also reduce your peripheral field of vision. Unlike round veils, fencing veils don’t require an existing hat and can collapse for easy storage and portability.
The cost of a beekeeper suit will vary widely depending on the fabrics used, the durability and the suit parts included. A full-length jumpsuit will be more expensive than a single beekeeping jacket, but buying each piece individually could cost more than purchasing a complete suit. Beekeepers with a single hive or a hands-off approach might find a $30 suit to be sufficient, while those committed to weekly inspections or commercial harvesting may want to invest in a durable $400 suit.
Additional features to look for
Some beekeeping suits come with features like carrying cases and extra pockets for tools. Many beekeepers note how difficult it can be to take off and put on a full-length jumpsuit, so look for suits with high-quality, metal zippers. And since beekeeping suits can get dirty fast, keep an eye out for suits that are machine washable.
Best beekeeper suits
Top beekeeper suit for beginners
Natural Apiary Apiarist Beekeeper Suit
What you need to know: Perfect for beginners, this full-length jumpsuit comes with several different color options and a fencing veil.
What you’ll love: Made from lightweight polycotton, this beekeeper suit is breathable and non-flammable. It also uses strong YKK zippers that are sure to have a long life.
What you should consider: Sizes run small, and the suit is not completely sting-proof when dealing with aggressive bees.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top beekeeper suit for the money
VIVO Professional Beekeeping Suit, Pullover Smock with Veil
What you need to know: Including just the jacket and veil, this no-frills beekeeping smock is a solid choice for casual, hands-off beekeepers with a docile hive.
What you’ll love: Affordable and lightweight, this suit keeps you cool and protected. The veil is also collapsible for easy transportation.
What you should consider: Since this suit only includes the jacket and the veil, you will want to invest in the other garments for complete protection.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top beekeeper suit for professionals
Natural Apiary Zephyros Protect Ventilated Beekeeping Suit
What you need to know: This durable beekeeping suit provides 5 mm of protection and comes with an attached fencing veil.
What you’ll love: The triple-layered mesh fabric creates total protection, while polycotton is great for breathability.
What you should consider: At over $450, this suit is more expensive than most beekeeping suits.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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