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I'm curious to hear from beeks who don't generally wear protective gear, why, and when - And experience level.

Also curious to hear from the "non-protected" beekeepers if there are ever situations that even you feel that you must don some protection.
 

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All I ever wear is a veil, in summer we work the bees in shorts and t-shirts (with a veil, gotta keep them out of my eyes). Yes I have had situations I wish I had a suit or a jacket (few and far between)....thats where my IQ of 4 comes into play.....:lpf:
experience= 5 or so years and we have 100 hives
 

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Could I also ask in addition, average # stings a day (hive working day), and when you stopped using protection (meaning # of years into beekeeping)?
 

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this is my second year, and I usally wear a t-shirt, and jeans. I just bought a veil a week ago, but have only worn it while working other peoples hives. I have yet to get any stings from my own bees.
 

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I've been keeping bees for two years and always wear protective gear when doing full inspections. I feel more confident in the suit and it allows me to do a better job. I am just now contemplating getting rid of the gloves but need to work up the matzi.

I have not worn the suit to feed and do minor inspections and yes I have been stung a couple dozen times - once in the eye. I eventually will work up to not wearing a suit but what the heck it's a little hot but less uncomfortable than a sting in the face.

Keeping bees is supposed to be a pleasant experience and everyone has to establish their own comfort level. Do what is best for you and don't worry what others do or say.
 

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Working our bees that are established hives (they have something to do), no gear.

Installing packages, gear.

Rainy day when all are home, maybe gear.

Never wore gear when I was young, dumb and stupid.

It's all in your comfort level, the breed of bee and their health. It is still a risk.
 

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I'm curious to hear from beeks who don't generally wear protective gear, why, and when - And experience level.

Also curious to hear from the "non-protected" beekeepers if there are ever situations that even you feel that you must don some protection.
I don't wear veil all the time, and usually work them in shorts n t-shirt. I USUALLY wear a veil when i am going to go into the hive and pull frames. Only reason is if you get stung in the face, its a major hassel with the swelling.

I don't get stung often and it doens't really bother me. Actually helps a lot with arthritis.

On days that would make you grumpy to get woke up and make you miserable i would wear a veil.
sunny days which make most people feel good, makes bees feel good.
 

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I don't where any gear, if i get stung its usually on the finger or wrist. I usually work them on nice days, and on cloudy days it's pretty easy to tell if its not a good idea to go in them. I have anywhere from 50 to 100 hives. I'm not sure but I wonder if there is some type of chemical make up of a person that dosen't need protection. My youngest son can work them like me, but my second oldest son can be standing 50' away and have a bee nail him. If he works them with me we have to suit him up.
 

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Full inspections...that is, taking each box off and pulling at least a few frames means I wear at least a veil and gloves. Well, not always the gloves, but most of the time.

Swapping a syrup can, checking a newly introduced queen or hiving a package...basically light stuff, only a veil. Sometimes no veil when hiving a package but once in a while I get stung in the face and I realize that I was stupid.

A lot depends on if you feel like using smoke. I've taken 3 or 4 stings just checking one frame when I'm in a hive without smoke and I'm more comfortable working with gloves. But, if I even moderately smoke a hive, I can work every hive without gloves. It depends on what your style is. Oh....and moving slowly helps.
 

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I almost always wear a veil, mostly bc I have long hair and don't want any bees to get stuck and punish me. I wear disposible exam gloves if I don't know the temperment of the hive or am cutting honey out etc. I don't own a suit or jacket. I have a long sleeve tshirt but it is often too hot to wear that. I prefer a fitted tank top so no bees crawl up my sleeves. I wear shorts most of the time. I've only been stung due to my stupidity (crushing or stepping on one by accident).
Newbeek with 7 hives
 

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I have been keeping bees for 6 weeks.... I have to say that I have worn my suit once I wear gloves sometimes. I wear the veil if I am messing with frames but I found a snug tank top and pants, so far, has been the best outfit for me. I have only been stung from bees trapped in my clothes and once in my hair. My suit is kept near the hives at my house so I guess I could hop into it quickly if I really had to.

I guess I will just wear whatever makes me comfortable. Perhaps I have extra gentle bees. Plus the populations are still small so they are easy to work with. I find wearing gloves and the suit made me clumsy and less careful. But I have only just begun.
 

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My first year I wore the coveralls bee suit one time. Heat stroke cured me of that.

Then I tried working with no protection at all. The bees seemed to like stinging my ears, and when you work by yourself, it's rather difficult to see the stinger to remove it when you get poked in the ear. So I started wearing the zip-on veil draped over my hat.

My second year I bought an Ultra-Breeze jacket.

I'm going into my 3rd year now. I'm considering going to just a veil. My biggest drawback is the $150 I spent on the Ultra-Breeze. If I spend that kind of money on a jacket, I intend to wear it and get my money's worth.

My IQ is on the bottom of the bell curve.

Helping shake 600 packages this spring, I got stung 10 or 12 times.
Refilling feeders, inspecting, and splitting a few hundred hives...3 or 4 stings.
Getting an overhead swarm last night (no protection)...clipped the branch they were on....didn't see the tiny twig from another branch on the backside of the swarm. After I clipped the branch and moved the swarm to me, that twig and leaves broke the swarm cluster and a pile of bees fell on me. I got poked a half dozen times.

Later in the year, you'll get more stings. Early spring you could make the naked beekeeper videos on YouTube.
 

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I guess I should have added this when I added my questions...

Second year keeping bees. Almost all equipment is home made or adapted for bee use.

Last year (first year) started by wearing everything to protect. I then dropped the gloves and wore just normal clothing. Usually didn't get stung. As bee population grew and the year got old they became more protective of their stores (which I fed them grr). One day I took my viel off (that would be bug netting for all mainer'ds) and got it right on the nose. The bee was for some reason contemplating my nostril and I didn't like it. That hurt. When my eyes stopped watering I put my viel on.

Currently I wear all the gear again (that hive looks very packed :D). I hope to be back to working it with less equipment soon. Like others have said I guess it comes with experience and confidence.

Forgot IQ - But IQ is opinion isn't it? My opinion is - it's probably low.

Mike
 

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Since restarting with bees 5 years ago, I gave up the gloves. It's made me a better beekeeper.... I wear boots and jeans, ankles taped... got a lot of ticks in two of my apiaries. Last week didn't tape the ankles, and doggone if a bee didn't crawl up my leg, and make it all the way to my butt where she stung me! hurt my pride more than anything else! :lpf: Wear old long sleeved shirt. No gloves.

Always wear a veil. Had an eye swollen shut one time, didn't like that. I work my bees any kind of weather, because I have to do it. I keep the gloves in my truck, in case one hive is particularly cranky....that means they nail my hands 2-4 times before I put the inner cover on the ground. LOLOL

I go most weeks without a sting, but early spring, and fall usually average a sting every time I visit the hives. Have 31 hives now.
Regards,
Steven
 

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here is my take,
use whatever protection that lets you be calm and patient, the bees for me have responded in kind.
I started with a veil and gloves and even used a frame grip the first 2 times, the gloves lasted the next 3 times and the veil for about 2 months. As I got more comfortable I used less gear.
this is my second year and since the middle of last summer I have only used close fitting sunglasses (I read a sting in the eye could make you blind).
I have had no stings so far, although my girl got one 3 weeks ago when we put a package in our observation hive (it got in her hair).
That is what I have found to work so far, but I would not be too proud to put some gear on if I needed it.

I would suggest that one learn what they are telling you, if they are warning you off, back off for a few seconds and figure out why, (did you mash a few, do you need a bit of smoke etc.). it takes some time but so worth it in my humble opinion :)
 

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I always wear full gear, period. I live in an area with AHB, ticks, spiders, snakes, scorpions, etc., and I figure it's kinda like birth control and insurance . . . by the time you decide it's what you really want, it's already too late. :doh:

I also have long hair, and bees in the hair are just plain awful. There's never just ONE, and they get stuck, and panicky, and you either get stung in the head, or on the hand trying to get them out. Always.

I use the dishwashing gloves, too, as I find they give great control and sensitivity, without sacrificing safety.

And even so, I have been stung through hat, veil and gloves doing cutouts, or feral hive removal. My yard bees only get that fussy when I'm bringing in honey.

Depends on your comfort level and whether or not you've ever had 100's of bees bouncing and pinging off your veil at one time. :eek: Hot and sweaty? Oh yeah. But better than the gym.

Summer
 

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My very first hands on experience with bees was hiving two packages. I had been reading books, talking to other bee keepers and got the idea that the bees would be calm during hiving making suiting up unnessary. Well, the first package went very well, just according to instructions. So I say to myself, this is pretty easy. HA--the girls in the second package really nailed me. They taught me some respect. As the years have gone by, learned a few things and get stung very seldon and do not have to wear any more than gloves and veil.
 
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