Bee suit-related stress syndrome: why they drive me mad
I have real issues with bee suits. Last year, I wrote a post about why (supposedly) they are white. I did not say the need for white suits is a myth, even though I wanted to. I forgo calling something a myth unless there’s scientific evidence to support me, but regarding bee suit color I can find nothing.
So for the moment I’m going to segue from the realm of science in the province of opinion. I firmly believe the color of your clothes makes not one scintilla of difference in the behavior of bees. The idea that dark clothes makes bees think you are a (pick one or more) bear, skunk, raccoon, dog, opossum, wolf, or insectivorous bird is ridiculous. Bees are not stupid. Bees know we are living things by our breath. If you really want to see bees get riled up, open a busy hive and blow on them. Ohmygod. No matter what color you are wearing, they will fire out of the hive like they came from a Gatling gun.
But we humans, thinking we are ever so brilliant, run around in these ridiculous white suits thinking we’re pulling one over on the bees. Believe me, the bees find this amusing.
I, for one, look perfectly ridiculous in my so-called white suit, which is hardly white but stained with 15 colors of propolis and 25 shades of pollen. None of it comes out, no matter how often I wash it. And the more I wash it, the softer it gets, until I may as well not bother because the bees can sting right through it.
Recently, a few companies starting making colored bee suits, but they come in pastel shades of pink, yellow, purple, and blue. I suppose these colors are deemed light enough to “fool” the bees. But even these are no match for propolis, which is dark and brown and sticky and waterproof.
So for my next bee suit I’m going to buy dark brown or black coveralls. They will have lots of pockets, no zip-fly in the front (remind me why I need this?) . . . and they will fit.
Since I’ve never been able to find a suit that worked for me, I finally bought the jacket and pants separately. The pants I ordered in the smallest size the company made. These are pants that my adult daughter and I can share–I can get in one leg while she gets in the other. I’m not kidding. If I wear these pants (by myself) the crotch comes to a place just below my knees, so I can walk only with mincing baby steps or risk falling on my face.
While I’m thinking of it, why do zipped hoods collapse against your face? Why are hive tool pockets so short the hive tools fall out? Why do suits not have a hanging thingy on the inside where a normal jacket has one? Why is the elastic around the wrist so tight and the elastic around the ankles so loose? Why haven’t bee suit makers heard of female beekeepers?
I used to fantasize about the perfect bee suit, now just the thought of something barely serviceable gives me palpitations. Dream on.