Let's talk PPE - for beekeeping!
An excerpt from our new Intro to Beekeeping online course, introducing you to my fellow instructor, Jim Riach, and an insight into the PPE needed to keep bees.
PPE and Beekeeping Tools
Getting stung is one of the biggest worries of any new beekeeper. Even a few years in, I still worry about being attacked by my bees and hilariously, while filming the first videos for this course, I have 4 minutes worth of footage of Kevin running away swearing as a bee got into his suit.
The good news is that it's rarely as bad as it seems. The occasional sting can and does happen (and always take precautions if you or someone working with you may have a potential bee allergy), but good protective equipment goes a long way to preventing the worst of it.
Personal Protection Equipment
Your main investment in beekeeping after the hives is your bee suit. There are a huge number of varieties on the market. You can choose from full or half suits. We have both - a half suit for quick checks or topping up feeders that are going to only minimally disturb the bees or a full suit for more intensive bee work. If you can only get one, get a full suit. If you are lucky to have a shop nearby that sells beekeeping equipment, its worth trying a few on, if you can.
Your suit should come with an integral or zipped in bee veil. This allows you to see what you are doing, without bees bombing your face.
Beekeeping gloves are another good investment. These tend to have thin leather hands with longer cuffs that you can tuck your bee suit into. You can also use marigolds/rubber gloves, but bees can more easily sting through those.
Boots or Wellies
Good footwear is another essential. Boots or wellies will not only protect your feet, but also offer your legs protection. Bees crawl up, so you want to be sure your bee suit is tucked into your socks or welly boots.
Tools for Beekeeping
In addition to your PPE, you will need to grab a few small tools that will aid you in keeping your bees.
This is a hand brush with very soft bristles that you can use to gently sweep bees out of your way.
A smoker is a small kettle-like tool with an air pump on it, that is filled with cardboard, pellets or pine needles (or other highly smoking materials). When bees sense smoke, they gorge themselves on honey and are less likely to attack the beekeeper.
Find out more about our Intro to Beekeeping online course and purchase here