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Thread: Gloves

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Rumford, Maine, USA
    Posts
    27

    Question Gloves

    I'll be Beekeeping for the very first time this Spring with my father and I'm being told different advice concerning different things.
    I'm sure you know how that goes when you are just starting out
    Some people tell me that I should not wear gloves while some say that I should. Which is confusing me since most Beekeepers I see are indeed wearing them.
    Does anyone have any advice on whether I should wear gloves or not?
    I ordered a Bee Suit and gloves come with it yet some people are telling me to just keep them in my pocket and not actually wear them unless needed.
    I'm unsure of what I should do
    Thank you so very much for any help
    Don't Worry, Bee Happy!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    I just started last year and went through the same puzzlement. It is definintey easier to work bare handed but the obvious down-side is sting potential. With greater dexterity (bare handed) you will probably do your inspections and manipulations more gracefully and give the bees less reason to want to sting. On the other hand (pun intended) as a new beekeeper you will probably work with greater confidence if you feel protected.

    I usually keep gloves handy in case I get stung--one sting is frequently followed by more because of the alarm pheremone. And I may put on the gloves if the bees seem testy and I am nervous about getting stung. During a nectar flow most bees are very focused on their work and they are very gentle/preoccupied so you can do anything short of smashing them and not get stung. If there is a dearth of nectar, if you are forced to go into the hive on a day they are not flying, or if there is a problem with the queen, you will want the gloves and you will probably know it. If I am scraping burr comb that has nectar in it that tends to get the bees excited so I will wear gloves...

    Most of my stings have come when I was re-assembling the hive bodies and I roll, pinch, or smash a bee in spite of using great care. Knowing this, I may work bare handed up to the point that I am replacing hive bodies on the stack and then put on the gloves.

    I find the traditional beekeeping gloves to be way to bulky and essentially worthless so I have experimented with all kinds of work gloves. I really like the knit ones with the palm dipped in rubber but the bees can and do sting through the knitting on the back of the hand. I also find that nitrile rubber gloves work well. They are thin enough so that you can feel everything but protective enough to hold back most stings.

    You will get stung. You should get stung. It will probably be due to a mistake you make. You will probably have a local reaction (red, swolen, itchy). You will get used to it. The reactions should become less severe once you have been stung a few times. You will get to know your hive(s) and be able to adjust accordingly.

    Do what makes you comfortable and do not feel that you have to be limited to "beekeeping gloves" if you choose to wear them at all.
    Carl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Rumford, Maine, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default

    Okay. Thanks so much for your reply. That was very helpful! I really appreciate it.

    I'm so very excited to begin yet a bit nervous being my first time.

    We'll be getting the bees the first week of May, I can't wait!
    I've always wanted to do this!
    Don't Worry, Bee Happy!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,032

    Default

    What's important is that you wear enough "protection" to feel comfortable when working with the bees. Took me a couple years before I ditched the gloves, although I still keep them handy in case the girls are grouchy. One of my buddies has been keeping bees over 20 years and wears playtex gloves simply because he doesn't like getting propolis on his hands.

    Do what feels right for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    SNOHOMISH, WA, USA
    Posts
    267

    Default

    I also just started this year, I have gone back and forth on wearing gloves. I decided until I get used to being around the bees it is better to wear them, especially as I dont want to make any sudden movements.
    Check out the "bucko" gloves www.buckogloves.com
    They are goats skin, not too thick and really easy to work with. There prices are very reasonable. There is a thread on here somewhere, just do a search.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Land O Lakes, FL
    Posts
    264

    Default

    I started out using the typical beekeeping gloves. I really did not like them but could not really go without either. I tend to react when a bee starts crawling on me and that probably induces the sting.

    I have switched to nitrile disposable gloves. They are fairly tight and therefore, I can feel and work the hive alot easier. I got a box of 100 at harbor frieght for about $10. I have only been stung once with them on and that was when I squashed a bee under my thumb on accident.

    The only drawback is that your hands do sweat alot in them. I rarely notice this though until I take them off and my hands are all wet. No big deal for me.

    I am at least partiallly convinced that the bees know if you are comfortable with them. Since I started using these gloves and got a Ultrabreeze jacket, I am much more comfortable and confident and now the bees don't seem to bother me as much anyway.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Liberty, Maine
    Posts
    197

    Default

    I wear gloves most of the time. I always figured that if I got stung while holding a frame I really didn't know who I would react. If I dropped the frame back into the super, well that could make a lot of very angry bees.

    So I wear gloves for both my protection and the bees. :-P

    Pretty much it boils down to what ever you feel more comfortable with.

    K

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bournemouth, U.K.
    Posts
    6

    Default Gloves or not?

    I find wearing domestic rubber kitchen gloves does the trick. Combines protection with dexterity.

    Regards


    Kerry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Shortjoker View Post
    I find wearing domestic rubber kitchen gloves does the trick. Combines protection with dexterity.

    Regards


    Kerry
    When I wear gloves, I prefer the rubber gloves you get in the paint department at Walmart (all the ones I have seen have been blue). They have a thin layer of knit inside them that the bees seem to very rarely be able to sting through. They are a little more comfortable to wear than the plain rubber ones too and the dexterity is still very good.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    I started with leather gloves and still use them whenever I really open a hive (e.g. not for top feeding). I get stung in other places, so its not about trying to never get stung, but I am just used to them. They do keep my hands clean, but they can be clumsy at times. This year I bought some nitrile gloves, but have not used them, yet, as I am still waiting for my UltraBreeze suit and need the elastic cuffs to cover the nitrile gloves. Eventually, I might try going without, but I have to reprogram myself, first.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    237

    Default

    I started last year and quickly went to no gloves. After being stung 8-9 times, I started having more localized swelling and went to wearing 2 pairs of blue nitrile gloves I bought at Home Depot. They are very resistant to puncture and tearing and seem to allow me the dexterity I desire with the protection needed so my hands don't blow up if I get stung. I save my leather gloves that came with my kit for people who visit.
    7 yrs, 6 hives, TF for 6 years, small cell, moved to OAV this fall.
    www.honeymeadowfarm.com, www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default

    There are pros and cons to both. At times, I wear gloves, and at times I go barehanded.

    It is good to go barehanded, because you can feel what you are doing. You are less likely to crush bees or be too rough with them. The bees will quickly teach you if you aren't careful enough.

    Leather gloves give much better sting protection, but you will tend to be clumsy. You are more likely to go faster and be less gentle with gloves. (It may be a psychological factor, knowing the gloves protect your hands, so you aren't as careful to not get stung.)

    The rubber or nitrile gloves allow you to feel what you are doing better, but bees can still sting through them.

    About the only time I wear gloves is if I am pulling honey. The bees can often be a little more testy then. Also, I run all deep supers, and a 90 pound super of honey and gentle finesse don't always go together. I know there is a good chance I will be rougher than the bees like, so I wear gloves.

  13. #13

    Default

    Kitchen type gloves work great - they protect your hands, increase your confidence, and don't interfere with dexterity for the most part.

    Grow into working bees gloveless.

    -Erin
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, CA USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    I've used kitchen gloves, "Handyman" gloves, official leather beekeeper gloves... never been stung through any of 'em.

    But barehanded... yeah, they've nailed me a few times, and I swell up like a baseball mitt, so it's just not worth it to me. I always wear some kind of glove now, whichever is handy.

    One lesson learned: be sure your cuff covers your glove. They'll find your exposed wrist if they're determined enough (he said, typing with one hand the size of a Rawlings Ken Griffey)

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