Protective Clothing Recommendations

These items are highly rated by customers and are what I would be purchasing for myself if I were purchasing or replacing equipment today.


This Beekeeper’s Full Suit on
I like the square veil design. It tends to keep the veil away from the skin so the bees can’t sting through the mesh of the veil.


This Beekeepers Hooded Jacket on
Again, I like the veil. Unlike the fencing style of veil, this veil design does tend to give better visibility when not looking straight forward.


Gloves require three recommendations ranging from stingless to minimalist gloves.

These Beekeepers Gloves on
Sting proof Gloves
. For beekeepers who REALLY don’t want to be stung and are willing to sacrifice some dexterity (made from cow leather which is thicker and less flexible). Reviewed as good for working with very aggressive bees or clearing out wasp nests.

These Beekeepers Gloves on
Good intermediate glove, flexible but not completely sting proof.

These Beekeepers Gloves on
For the “about to get rid of all gloves” kind of person. This glove is my recommendation because of the long sleeve of the glove. Regular nitrile gloves have short sleeves and can leave bare skin exposed between the glove cuff and the cuff of the jacket/suit while working with the bees.


This Beekeepers Veil on
Although I’m not a big fan of the round veil as it frequently collapses against the skin, by the time a beekeeper is just wearing a veil they are more concerned with eye/ear/nose protection than anything else. For this kind of beekeeper this veil works great.

Beekeepers Full Suit

Full beekeeping suits offer the most protection a beekeeper can get. They are sting resistant but usually not completely sting proof, especially if the beekeeper is wearing tight-fitting clothes under the bee suit. Even worse if that tight fitting under clothing is wet with sweat.

Stings can also occur in the venting area if the venting material is not thick enough or the venting material has collapsed from crushing.

Venting material is generally two or three layers thick adding the necessary height to keep the bees from stinging through the venting, even when the venting is resting directly on the skin.

Bears (as well as most other bee predators) and black or very dark in color. Bees have developed an instinct to attack black. That is why most bee protective gear is made in white.

There are no bee predators that are white.

Beekeepers Hooded Jacket

When beekeepers become more comfortable with handling their bees (and understanding the cues the bee gives the beekeeper before they sting them), most beekeepers will abandon the full suit in favor of the hooded jacket simply to reduce the heat factor of being in protective clothing.

But beekeepers moving away from a full bee suit into a hooded jacket can’t simple forget about lower body protection. Most choose to wear loose fitting blue jeans.

But be careful when wearing blue jeans as bees are on the ground as well as flying around in the air. The last thing a beekeeper would want is to have a bee crawl up their pant leg! Ouch!!! Be sure the pant leg is secured tightly to the leg.

Beekeepers Gloves

As the beekeeper becomes more and more seasoned they tend to move toward wearing no gloves by going through a couple of stages if their first gloves were cow leather sting-proof gloves.

The first step down is to move to a lighter, more flexible leather like goat skin. Goatskin is thick enough to make these gloves “sting resistant” but offers much more dexterity while the beekeeper is servicing the hives.

The final step down before moving to the no glove option is usually the nitrile gloves. Latex is completely different material and has its own issues of toxicity. Bees can certainly sting through these thin gloves but they are not inclined to do so. Some same it is because of the bees inability to “anchor” to the glove to be able to drive the stinger home, while other say it is because nitrile is not an animal product (unlike cow leather and goatskin) and the bees simply do not recognize this material as a stinging opportunity.

Beekeepers Veil

By the time a beekeeper is comfortable handling their bees with just a veil they have learned a lot about recognizing bee cues from angry bees ready to sting. The beekeeper is wearing the veil as a precaution to keep from being stung in the eyes. They are also protecting their ears and nose are stings here are more painful than the rest of the beekeepers body.

Bees have developed a strategy over the years to help them deter their predators, especially thick-haired bears, making it difficult for bees to sting the bears body. But the bears eyes, ears, lips and nose are vulnerable. So the bee’s strategy of attacking eyes, ears, and nose has developed over thousands of years and is inbred into the bee’s DNA. Works on humans too!

Random Thoughts:

Protective clothing choices are a balance between protection, heat build-up, and mobility/flexibility.

Remember, the smart beekeeper works their hive in the midday sun because most of the bees are out of the hive foraging for nectar and pollen, so material thickness and venting become much more important for the beekeeper that has several hives to service.

The most protection a beekeeper can achieve is wearing a full beekeepers suit. Most new beekeepers start with a full suit. Since most new beekeepers have only a few hives to take care of, heat buildup is less of a problem than for beekeepers that will be in protective clothing for hours at a time.

Most seasoned beekeepers recommend a beginning beekeeper should wear, at minimum, a hooded jacket and gloves until they are accustomed to working with bees.

As the novice becomes more experienced, the first item they discard are the gloves, followed by the jacket.

Most beekeepers continue to wear a veil at a minimum. If the beekeeper is going to be targeted by a guard bee, the beekeeper’s eyes, nose, lips and ears will be the first target of choice by the angry bee.