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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After getting stung on my hands one too many times, I decided to switch to leather beekeeping gloves instead of the nitrile gloves I had been using. The first time I wore the leather gloves, they became covered in propolis so that the fingers stick together and make handling frames difficult. I've tried bleach, vinegar, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and probably some other things I forgot, but nothing takes the propolis off. Has anyone found something that actually gets gloves clean?

Today, I got stung through the leather gloves AND through the disposable food service gloves I wore over the leather ones to try and protect the leather from propolis. There's hardly any manual dexterity at all when wearing those big, bulky gloves, so I ended up squishing a bee under my finger and couldn't even feel it until it stung me. So why bother with those leather gloves anyway? They don't actually protect against stings, and they even cause stinging by preventing me from feeling when there's a bee right under my finger.

Your thoughts or suggestions?
 

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I mostly use 15-mil nitrile. Some loss of dexterity just not as bad as leather. $3.50 at Gemplers or $5.00 at Betterbee (Same glove, labeled Gemplers from BB) First pair lasted over a year even with occasional rough use such as toting concrete blocks. Have tried dish washing gloves and (at least the few that fit) they tear up the first day.

Oh, BB mistakenly says 15 MM rather than 15-mil.
 

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I don't were gloves for the most part, but when I do I just wear a pair of leather drivers gloves. Yes the bees can sting through them.

As far as cleaning I don't wear them enough to get that gummed up.

Now for gummy fingers, I find lava soap works pretty darn good.
 
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Listening to you guys talk about getting stung through leather gloves sure makes me appreciate my bees. I almost always put on nitrile or latex so I dont sticky up door knobs, camera, etc. I dont get stung except when I pinch a bee or squat when one was on my pant leg.

Can't say that about my son's bees down in the Ottawa Valley. Leather gloves is standard there. I dont find them fun at all!:mad: Guess I am spoiled.
 

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Seldom if ever wear gloves. I do occasional get stung on the wrist if I pinch a bee in the cuff of my jacket. If they get pissy, I just go home and return when they calm down.
 

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Oil will take off propolis, much better than soap.

When I am out working the bees if the gloves get sticky I rub them in dust to dry the outer layer.
 

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I spray WD40 on them, scrub like you would with soap while washing your hands, scrape with a hive tool if necessary, wash with dish soap, then set out to dry for the next use.
 

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I use Fast Orange hand cleaner on my leather and rubber gloves. It works well and removes just about everything. Instead of using nitrile gloves which offer almost no protection, try using canning gloves. Canning Gloves If you keep an eye out on eBay, you can sometimes get good deals on these. They are much thicker than typical rubber or nitrile gloves but still offer a decent amount of dexterity.

I am currently installing Apivar strips and tried these Beekeepers Rubber Gloves. They can be a bit trying to get on and off but work very well although a good bit more expensive than canning gloves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, so many good suggestions!

I'm sure that wearing something that provides better dexterity would reduce the amount of stinging. Can't blame the bees for stinging when a butterfingered beek squashes them. Still, I like the leather gloves, but maybe they're more suited to some beekeeping chores than others, like applying treatments. I'll give the cleaning suggestions a try. They all sound like they would work better than what I've been doing.
 

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I wash my leather beekeeping gloves (in the washing machine) or replace my nitrile gloves (which I usually reuse) when I get stung or find multiple bees trying to sting. I guess they respond to some sort of alarm pheromone left on the gloves?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wash my leather beekeeping gloves (in the washing machine) or replace my nitrile gloves (which I usually reuse) when I get stung or find multiple bees trying to sting. I guess they respond to some sort of alarm pheromone left on the gloves?
Does the washing machine remove the propolis? I've reused nitrile gloves too. When I get stung, I always immediately smoke the sting site to smother the pheromones. I also keep a small tub of baking soda mixed with water near the hive and apply the paste to the sting site to neutralize the venom. It helps a lot in reducing the swelling.
 

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I use Fast Orange hand cleaner on my leather and rubber gloves. It works well and removes just about everything. Instead of using nitrile gloves which offer almost no protection, try using canning gloves. Canning Gloves If you keep an eye out on eBay, you can sometimes get good deals on these. They are much thicker than typical rubber or nitrile gloves but still offer a decent amount of dexterity.

I am currently installing Apivar strips and tried these Beekeepers Rubber Gloves. They can be a bit trying to get on and off but work very well although a good bit more expensive than canning gloves.
I have used fast orange and it does work.
 

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Does the washing machine remove the propolis? I've reused nitrile gloves too. When I get stung, I always immediately smoke the sting site to smother the pheromones. I also keep a small tub of baking soda mixed with water near the hive and apply the paste to the sting site to neutralize the venom. It helps a lot in reducing the swelling.
Not really. My leather gloves used be white but now are brown (but still soft enough). I've never tried baking soda. Interesting! I use 'Bite & Sting Kit' to remove venom but it is probably overkill (it is designed for snake bite).
 

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After getting stung on my hands one too many times, I ........... So why bother with those leather gloves anyway? They don't actually protect against stings
The real question is maybe - why do you get stung in the first place?
Not how to clean the gloves.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've never tried baking soda. Interesting!
Bee venom is formic acid, just like ant venom. The baking soda, being alkali, neutralizes the acid... theoretically. It's a matter of trying to work the baking soda down into the sting site so it can get at the venom, which is not always easy to do, but it does seem to help reduce the swelling. Of course, it's best to remove the stinger in less than 30 seconds, before it has a chance to discharge all its venom, and get the baking soda on it immediately.
The real question is maybe - why do you get stung in the first place?
Not how to clean the gloves.
:)
If the gloves weren't so big and clumsy, I wouldn't be squashing bees and causing them to sting me in the first place. I can't feel the bees under my gloved fingers until it's too late. I'm tempted to stop using those leather gloves altogether, except maybe for things like performing treatments which don't require handling the bees. It's still helpful to know how to clean the propolis off of the gloves so the fingers don't stick together.
 

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I am fine wearing leather gloves and owning that I'm still afraid not to - I'll get there.

I did get a "Bug Bite Thing Suction Tool" (or my wife got it for me) and I can say it works. It has a scraper to get the stinger out, and a suction thing to pull the venom out. Even works for regular bug bites if you get to them soon enough.
 

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If the gloves weren't so big and clumsy, I wouldn't be squashing bees and causing them to sting me in the first place. I can't feel the bees under my gloved fingers until it's too late. I'm tempted to stop using those leather gloves altogether, except maybe for things like performing treatments which don't require handling the bees. It's still helpful to know how to clean the propolis off of the gloves so the fingers don't stick together.
There are jobs when gloves are better ON.
But at some other times, the gloves are better OFF.
But also the gloves does not need to be "big and clumsy".
I use goatskins, size "small" for tightness - I would not call them "big and clumsy" for the jobs they are suited for (clearly, not for picking a queen).
Unsure, suppose squishing the bees is just a not common occurrence here to worry about it.

The propolis is easy to just scrape off with a hive tool and move about your day.
I guess I don't even do that anymore with my torn up, crusty gloves (a least priority).
Time to replace have come.
 

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The real question is maybe - why do you get stung in the first place?
Not how to clean the gloves.
:)
I get stung because I have some defensive bees in my small yard. No rolling or mashing. They are on my hands after I gently as possible remove them inner cover before I pull the first frame. If I crack the cover, out they come in force.

So far, they appear just as defensive towards mites. That's why they are still with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
But also the gloves does not need to be "big and clumsy".
I use goatskins, size "small" for tightness - I would not call them "big and clumsy" for the jobs they are suited for (clearly, not for picking a queen).
I also have small size goatskin gloves, but they're still too large for my hands. Children's size large might work, but I'd prefer to try them on before buying. In any case, they're too thick for me to feel when I'm squishing a bee under my finger. I think I'm gonna get a supply of vinyl exam gloves and relegate the goatskin gloves to the protective equipment used when doing treatments.
 
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