If you have the $$$ get a Golden Bee suit.
Or contact MagMan here for a suit that
is simular in design, and perhaps better.
Be advised that Golden Bee has had a shipping
problem as of late. For that reason I would
be quick to recommend MagMans suit. But I
have not seen his yet. I own a Golden Bee
and if you do a search here for it you'll
find loads of info.
It is a close to sting proof as any suit can
get. The main plus is it breaths due to its
unique mesh construction.
Also judge your comfort level with working with the bees. If you aren't totally comfortable with them crawling on you or your skin (without stinging) save the money and stick to the minimum I say. I have been doing it about 4 years as a hobby in nothing but a vail. I wear latex gloves to keep the propolis off of my hands (and steering wheel). More often than not, I work them in shorts and a t-shirt (except for harvest time). If you have a real affinity to being stung at all, by all means, go for the suit. If you feel uncomfortable working them, it will probably lead to dropped frames, excessive hive disturbance and further problems. So I say, buy and dress to your comfort level. Save the unspent money for the hives you will soon be adding to your collection!
I bought the $39 bee jacket from Dadant last year which was my first year, and a pair of leather bee gloves. I wear sweat pants under a pair of loose kaikies(sp?). I was stung 4 time the whole year, once behind the knee when I did not wear the sweat pants, once on the back of the hand when I did not put on gloves, and twice in the back when I did not zip up my jacket all the way. I dropped a frame one time and they tried to eat me up. I counted over 50 wet sting spots in my Kaikies but not one got through the sweat pants.
This year I am wearing a veil and hat only. I plan to get more stings. I'm not so wooried anymore. I hear the Golden suit is #1 though if you are looking for the best.
Your first year should be a fun learning experience and it takes a while to get use to the sounds and bees crawling on you and yes sometimes getting stung. So invest in a full bee suit and gloves, you will progress at your own comfort level as you gain experience, you will soon find that you are working without gloves more and will get comfortable enough to eventually work in just a vale. You will know that your not worry about getting stung is when you get nailed you just say the bees name. (All mine are named Dammit). But having a full suit is a good thing to have on hand when you have to work a hive that has been molested by Raccoons or skunks the night before or the weather is not the greatest and they are trying to mug you. I have several full suits for the spectator that wants to see what beekeeping is about but most of the time I just ware a beekeeping jacket they are cooler and easier to get on and off.
I love my Golden Bee Products suit on a hot day. On a cool day I wear my jacket with hood from www.beeworks.com, I also like having a bug baffler hood in my pocket at bee meetings. It's small, light and handy.
I started with a veil that came with a kit. It's actually pretty good. I then bought a jacket which is good on a cool day or when someone wants to see the bees with me. I get the veil, they get the jacket. I still tend to start without either until I get "reminded" by the girls. Still, only had a few stings last year. I hope to be more consistent wearing the jacket this year. Someday, I will make a good sized mistake and pay for my negligence!
I started with gloves, veil and safari hat, long sleeved shirt and pants with the cuffs taped.
Now I don't wear gloves, (no more crushed girls), I wear the veil with a ball cap with the veil up until I feel I need it down, and mostly my sleeves rolled up and shorts.
I get stung every third visit or so. But I'm getting used to it! But the truth of it is that you can see better, manipulate things better, and you are more deliberate in what you do with minimum protection. And I think thats the key.
For the money, at about 40 dollars, I like the zippered jacket/hood from Dadant.
Regardless of how many comment on "wearing nothing", its good advice to own a jacket. To be used in an emergency, loaned to a visiting guest, or a phone call about a "bee situation" of unknown details. Once you have a suit/jacket or whatever, then listen to all those who work bees without much on. But the best advice is to have a jacket/suit on hand, and then use it or not as you prefer.
I am a beginner - started last July. Since I didn't really know what was what, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I may not like later. Add to that, I have long legs, and have yet to find a pair of coveralls that fits. "Floodwaters" and bees did not seem like a good mix!
I went with the basics: I got the pullover jacket/hood from Betterbee. In retrospect, if I had found the zippered one Bjorn mentioned, I probably would have gone that way, but I can live with the pullover style. I really like the hood zipped to the jacket. Easy.
Then got a cheap set of tyvek coveralls. Hot as all get-out in the summer, but virtually sting-proof. If I had more than 2 hives, I'd probably sweat to death, put for the price it's fine until I figure out what I want.
I wanted all-over coverage. I'm new at this, and there is a LOT of comfort in having a full suit of some sort. Especially when you do something dumb and the bees are buzzing all over you.
Also got the goatskin gloves (which fit my small hands better, easier to work the frames without crushing bes under clumsy fingers.) and a couple of $1.50 sets of velcro leg bands. Wore an old pair of leather boots.
I am one of the wear nothings,BUT, I have two complete suits, one white coveralls, a case of tyvek coveralls, and about 6 hat and veils. There have been instances when even a complete suit was not enough. Like bjorn says, you may not need it, but have it available anyway.
I don't expect my house to burn down, but I'm not going to be without an extinguisher.
I'll have to look into the tyvek coveralls. I still don't have any sting resistant gear for my legs. I do velcro the cuffs of my jeans sometimes, just in case. Iddee....did you say a case of coveralls. Are they disposable, like the kind painters wear?
Last year I bought a bee suit from Dadant. It was a suit, veil, hat combo. I got stung once, and that was in the armpit when I crushed a bee there. That’s a sensitive spot that sent me into a cursing fit. My mentor has been doing this more than 60 years. He gets stung about 2 times in every yard that he visits, about 20 yards. He uses a veil, a flannel jacket, with old man brown polyester pants and rubber boots. I laugh when I see him get stung and just grimace for a second, all except for the time he got stung on his pee pee, that got his attention
The moral of the story is:
Some wear a veil, some wear a suit.
To protect your feet, don't forget your boot.
But what about your fingers, you may need some gloves.
Getting stung on the hand, no body loves.
If you don't respect the girls, they'll give you a kick.
But wait a minute, what about your stick!
You may not think your groin may need a protector.
But you can easily get stung, right on the pecker!
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