Bee suit alternatives
I‘ve written many posts about bee suits over the past five years. In one of the first, I said bee suits were worth the money. But subsequent posts showed me becoming a skeptic. And now? I would never buy another. Almost anything you can find laying around the house is better.
The one thing heavy cotton bee suits are good for is protecting your other clothing. I used to think bee suits saved me money because of that. But invariably there were days when I didn’t wear a suit and I ended up ruining my clothes anyway. So after a while, I just wore the ruined clothing and called it good.
The most frequent argument I hear in favor of bee suits is that they are white, and as such they are cooler. But I don’t believe this. Well, I believe the science: white reflects the sunlight and so those suits are cooler than if they were black, but the fabric they use is so heavy they are deathly hot anyway.
When I’m in the bee yard, I like clothing that I’m comfortable in. Why do hot, heavy, and stingy work in clothes that make you antsy? It doesn’t make sense.
So I began keeping a list of suggestions from other beekeepers. I’m passing it along for the day you can bear the bee suit not one more minute:
- jeans with a long-sleeved, zip-up turtleneck and veil
- a painter’s suit from Home Depot
- a Tyvek suit from Home Depot (these offer good sting protection but are also hot)
- surgical scrubs with duct tape or elastic at wrists and ankles
- heavily-starched denim pants and shirts
- bib overalls with an over-sized shirt on top, and boots
- layers: baggy clothes over regular clothes with a bungee cord belt
- long-sleeved hoody and extra-long jeans
- packable nylon rain gear
- shorts and a tee-shirt with briefs (not boxers)
I also promised you a report on the BugBaffler. I’ve only worn it a few times, but I haven’t been stung so far. I like the cuffs at the wrists and ankles because they are tight enough to keep out the crawlers. And the best part: I can feel the breeze through the mesh. The BugBaffler is hotter than wearing no protection, but much cooler than a cotton suit.
The downside of the BugBaffler is there are no pockets. But since my hive tool always fell out of my hive tool pocket anyway (due to the crotch being down around my knees somewhere), this is not much of a handicap. So far, I’m impressed.