Do you always wear a bee suit to work your bees?

I don’t always need a bee suit or gloves as I have very calm bees. Here is my friend Kim looking for the queen and transferring my frames from one box to another. No stings.

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When they are verging on swarming and I am trying to find the queen I put on my Father’s suit. And when he and my husband dropped a hive while moving it. That was ugly. And man did the bees get even with them for messing up their hive. I TOLD them to use the wagon…


All my bees are swarm-caught.

This means I do not know their history, nor temperament, when first I get to transfer them to the hives. I am in Texas, and there are Africanised Honeybees (AHB) in the area. It would be dumb to muck about without protection of some kind. Calm hives can also turn hot, so you just never know what you might face on any given day. I have a relatively strong reaction to stings (normal, not allergic) so I don’t like to get them.

So far my bees have not shown signs of AFB, but I have had an accident that riled them up badly. I was enveloped in a huge swarm of furious bees and chased. If I am going into the hive, I wear protection, just in case something unexpected happens. If I am observing or checking the bottom boards, I do not. Currently my hives are Top Bar Hives (TBHs), so the combs are not supported by frames. Manipulation requires finesse. On at least one occasion I had none.

My beesuit and jacket are both Ultra Breeze, made up the road in Oklahoma. I can’t recommend this brand enough. Three layers of protection, the bees don’t seem to be able to hook their stingers in the fabrics, roomy sizes, and air can circulate so you don’t fry in the heat and sun. I’m not sure what would have happened by way of being stung had I not been wearing this suit. Perhaps others might also have held up. All I can say is I did not get a single sting wearing this suit. I counted 21 stingers in my glove at the wrist, not one made it through to my skin. Goatskin gloves definitely work, too.

So, yes, I wear protection. Excellent protection. The only times I have been stung is when I was wearing none.



Lol! I bet they were less that calm about that! I try not to bang the boxes too

Picture two grown men, in the night, in their jammies, running from swarms of bees. One guy jumped in the (cold, unheated) pool. The other beat a cowardly retreat into the house and the swarm followed him… THAT was fun. My mom was almost as p’ed off as the bees that night ; -)

And don’t even ask why they thought they HAD to relocate the hive then… I think it might have been the scotch talkin…


Ahhahahahaaaaa that’s epic Sara