Beesuite is a very important piece of equipment for every beekeeper. It makes hive handling much easier especially when you are a new beekeeper and you are not sure how to behave around bees. Beesuite will protect you from beesting because even the calmest bees can become aggressive.
So Why Are Bee Suites White?
It is known that black or dark colors trigger bees instinct that the predator (bears, raccoons) is after their hive and that they should protect themselves. When you wear a white bee suit you make your self less threatening to bees.
Color of Bee suite
When you start looking for bee suits you will see that the majority of them are white. As I said before the presumption is that dark colors represent predator from bees perspective because for centuries beehives filled with honey is the favorite meal of several predators bears, raccoons, skunks…
So it is fair to say that color has something to do with making the bees more aggressive. That’s why manufacturers started to make bee suites white making the people less attractive to bees. Also white color attracts less sun than darker ones that is very helpful on summer sunny days.
There is several bee-keepers that do not agree with this theory that you will make bees less aggressive when you disguise in white. In their experience bees aggressive has more to on season, colony life cycle, temperature, time of day, colony health so according to them you can drees any color it doesn’t make any difference to the bees. Anyhow you should use protective clothing (bee suite) when working with bees.
What are Bee Suites Made Of?
Depending on the model bee suits are made out of:
- 100 % fine cotton
- Ventilated synthetic mesh fabric with foam rubber between layers
Bee suites that are made of 100 % cotton are considered to have the highest protection. They are also heavier than alternatives due to material that they are made of.
Even though cotton, bee-suites are made from natural material thing can heat up when you wear it because of its thickness there is not enough ventilation that can affect your calmness when doing delicate work around the apiary
Ventilated synthetic mesh bee-suites are made of artificial materials but designed to provide more ventilation than cotton alternatives. Also they lighter and easier to wear. But bare in mind that all bee suite do not protect from heat.
Can Bees Sting Trough Bee-suit?
There no 100 % sting proof suite and bees are able sometimes to sting you trough bee-suite. Under the suite, you have to wear long-sleeve clothes for additional protection.
To be protected from sting you have to make more space between you and bee so they are not able to reach your skin. Ventilated mesh suits are creating wrinkles and preventing bees to get in touch with your skin so make sure you are keeping the suite loose not tensioned.
Also, make sure that suit is properly tightened around wrists and ankles to keep the bees outside.
What Colors Attract Honeybees?
Bees are able to see color five times faster than humans because this ability is important to recognize favorite flowers rich with nectar while flying. Honeybees also have an ultraviolet vision and they see colors differently than humans do and they are attracted to specific flower colors. Most favorite colors are violet, blue and yellow with ultraviolet marking.
Flowers that are pollinated by bees have developed trough time to be more attractive to bees so some flower petals look like they change color depending on the light angle. Humans are not able to see it but bees can see those flowers shining and that is a sign for them that there is sugar so that flower gets pollinated.
Do Bee See Red Color?
Bees are not able to see red color but it doesn’t mean that they do not see objects in red just they see red color as black so red flowers are not interesting for bees. Sometimes you are able to see bees landing on red flowers but that means that in the spectrum of colors they see there was enough sun at the right angle and they appeared attractive to the bee to land and look for nectar
How to Keep Your Bee Suit Working Effectively?
Beekeeping suits are important safety equipment for every beekeeper. It can last for many years but you have to properly take care of it and here are few tips on how to do it
Check your suit often
To make sure there are no gaps or holes where bees can crawl inside your suit you have to check it regularly. Go through every piece of the suit if it is ripped or torn, check for wholes. Make sure that areas around elbows and knees are not thinned or weakened. Also, check the zippers if they are working properly and sealing the suit tight.
The most important part of the bee suit is the veil that is protecting your face most vulnerable part of the body when it comes to bees. That is why you see even most experienced beekeepers to wear. Check the veil every time and make sure you wear it in the way it is not touching your skin.
Storing the suite
When you are not wearing make sure your suite is properly stored. The best way is to hang it but in case you have to fold it make sure you do not put anything heavy or with sharp edges on top to avoid damages.
Washing the suite
Bee suits get dirty when working around bees so you have to clean in from time to time. When you buy the suite you get cleaning instructions so please make sure you follow it not to ruin your suite.
The veil is very sensitive so you have to hand wash it
A suit without a veil made should be washed in cold water. When it comes to drying, cotton suites you can tumble dry on low.
Mesh suits and hoods should be air dried away from the sun.
For the gloves, you should wash them together with the suite
Also, important note not to use the bleach at all
Signs if the Bees are Aggressive for Some Reason
(and best example why you need the suite)
There are some days when you do all the things by the book to calming the bees but you get an aggressive response for them. So maybe that is a good time to postpone you inspection or harvest till tomorrow to give time for the bees to settle. Here are some tips on how to recognize signs of bees aggression that should be when approaching the hives but you
Best signs of the bees aggression are:
- When you move the lid off, go with your hand over the open hive and if the stings are facing upwards it is a good sign they are rattled
- If they make accidental bumps at you they are saying to you to keep away
- If there is a big number of bees flying around you and checking your every move it is also a sign of aggression
Reasons for bees aggression:
There are numerous reasons for bees to be aggressive it could happen that bear or skunk was around the apiary last night.
Or maybe it is too hot that day and just when they colled the place you opened the lid and let all the hot air in so they get frustrated. So good advice for that is if the day is too hot leave your bees alone to coll down just check if there is a water source around.
In any case, never approach the beehive without a bee suit and a smoker that makes them more cooperative because when you remove the hive cover you do not want angry bees flying towards you. So make sure that the smoker is providing enough smoke to calm the bees so you can work in peace.
If you do not have any experience with beekeeping you will understand what I am saying. It is because when you get to know the behavior of your bees you will start to notice these changes in behavior and you will know when is that day you should leave them alone the same as with any friend or family member that needs some time for himself. So tomorrow is most likely a much better day to do what you planned.