The 10 Best Beekeeping Suits
This wiki has been updated 6 times since it was first published in May of 2020. Reliable beekeeping suits repel stings, stand up to wear and tear, are sufficiently well-ventilated to protect the beekeeper from overheating, and can be sealed securely at points like the neck, ankles, and wrists to prevent inquisitive or enraged worker bees from getting inside. Note that you should not attempt to work with venomous insects without proper training and equipment. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 07, 2020:
A few of these outfits come with hand protections but most require a separate purchase. Remember that closer-fitting the gloves are, the more dexterity you will have, but looser-fitting gloves provide slightly more protection from stings.
Generally, the biggest complaint about this article of clothing is that wearing them can become sweltering, so adequate ventilation should be a key criterion for savvy buyers. However if it will be worn primarily in a temperate environment there are relatively few drawbacks to the Bees & Co U74 and similar suits, whereas the free-flowing Humble Bee 420 and Mann Lake ProVent would lose some of their appeal.
The Deceny CB Professional profiled here has a collapsible, self-supporting veil but savings-minded apiarists might opt for a version of the same model that has a less-structured hood, though that sacrifices scalp protection especially if no additional headgear is worn. If you wear a brimmed cap underneath, you may find the self-supporting veil is less necessary, but overall we think it is a smart investment, especially for those who are at risk of going into anaphylactic shock if stung.
There are some little flaws in the Humble Bee 420 like its cumbersome pullover design which makes it a pain to put on and take off, its weak canvas scalp covering, and the zipper which is sturdy but can require two hands to use. Nevertheless it is a usable suit that is far less agonizing to wear in hot weather than most traditional models. And like the The Ultra Breeze with Veil it has a texture that is less likely to snag stingers than those of other garments, which helps preserve the lives of a colony's workers.
The Vivo Professional, Mann Lake Economy, and Natural Apiary Max Protect are solid, traditional-style overalls and can be used not only in apiaries but by people looking to avoid gnats, mosquitoes, and so forth. We highlighted some fit issues with the Vivo Professional, but results will vary by individual habits and body types. Trying before buying is always good advice, so if you can, check to see if you can move with flexibility in the outfit. Also observe whether any of the materials cling to the skin, especially in the head area. And remember that there is no perfect article of clothing that can guarantee safety and user error can make any of these options worse than useless, but with careful preparation all of the items here can be helpful.
Learn more about equipment that can be useful for apiarists and look for ways to make use of the wax your colonies produce. And if you're concerned with the long-term health of your hives, consider learning more about sustainability.
Old Castle Farm Hives This British retailer sells both the traditional cloth and technologically-advanced ventilated coveralls, including their Sentinel Pro II, which can be tailored to your specific dimensions. They also sell smokers, un-capping forks, honey drizzlers, frame perches, crown boards, and clothing for various forms of pest control. oldcastlefarmhives.com
Pollinator Network at Cornell The Dyce Lab at the Pollinator Network at Cornell is a central hub of apiary-related resources that performs and distributes research, offers educational programs, and works with both hobbyists and commercial bee farmers to develop and disseminate sustainable practices. The Lab provides free advice on topics like the best plants to place near hives, procedures for moving swarms, pest and disease management, and business resources. cornell.edu