Newbee questions - Help appreciated

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spytek 

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Thanks to Hedgerow Pete, I had a nice experience handling bees in Petes bee shed and this has given me the confidence to take up beekeeping. I dont intend to own any of my own bees next year but rather use the year to gain some experience in handling bees and to gain as much practical knowledge as possible before I proceed to aquire my own bees.

I need to start thinking about buying some protective clothing but am not sure what to get and what to avoid so I'll start off my questions on this topic.

1) What kind of gloves should I use for beekeeping? I know some people dont wear any, some wear leather gloves, some wear marigolds. I read a thread that covered this and it seemed that getting leather gloves are a no no and that its a common newbee mistake. Should I avoid getting leather gloves altogether? What do most people use?

2) Round hat style veil or fencing style veil? What is the best one to use along with any drawbacks they may have as well as anything to look out for when purchasing.

3) a full bee suit, smock/jacket or vest? I was thinking of getting a smock with attached veil but am concerned about leg protection. Would a loose fitting pair of jeans be good enough or would I need to purchase bee keeping trousers too? I also noticed you could get different fabrics such as cotton or a cotton/polyester mix. Is the fabric important when it comes to protecting from bee stings?

Are there any other things I should be aware of when purchasing protective clothing? Any recommendations on where to purchase the clothing from as I have noticed a few sellers on ebay that seem cheap compared to retailers such as thornes.

Your help and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Rob
 

Erichalfbee 

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I have only this years experience so all I can tell you is what I have done.
I got a pair of leather gloves free with my suit and they are awful. Clumsy and giving no feeling for what I am doing, these are relegated to the spare suit for neighbours kids who like to come and watch on occasion. I have a pair of long cuff marigolds that do the job and give me enough protection and are easily washed between inspections. Leather gloves can't be kept as clean as you can't wash them successfully.
I have a full fencing suit,polycotton, from BB wear. Excellent quality,good protection,(gives me confidence for those longer more intrusive inspections) light and cool in the summer. I expect it to last for years.My OH has jacket and trousers from them and I do use the jacket for minor manipulations, having been caught out on a couple of occasions being chased while topping up feeders etc. I guess thick jeans would be OK but not sure.
OH has a full round hat suit from ebay and it's rubbish, seams coming apart after a few washes.
If you join your local BKA I'm sure they will have allsorts to try out.
Get a BIG smoker.
Hope this helps
 

Friar Tuck 

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I use soft leather gloves,,, dont have any problems with them. I use a fencing style smock but that's just coz i like to look cool :) I brought the smock and gloves on eBay cheap and they do me fine. jeans work well as bee trousers i like to wear them baggy anyway. But i'm only 28 so only a baby in the bee world lol

Buy a big smoker and flat roofs :cheers2:

just MHO
 

madasafish 

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As a newbie with two colonies:
I use vinyl gloves - as car mechanics- for day to day working when lots of propolis, bare hands most of the time when it's warm and the bees are in a good mood (all summer), and yellow marigolds for grumpy bees.

I bought a camouflaged bee top and veil... I don't want the neighbourhood to see my hives and me..
I use jeans or track suit trousers.

Only one sting through jeans - not a bad one as stinger cannot penetrate, tight fitting top round waist so that's OK..

I now ALWAYS wear wellies or short boots and tuck jeans into them as some bees crawl on ground and climb .. where no respectable bee should go..:)

Apart from thatnothing. Not needed so far.

Edit
Have a smoker: hardly used..
Hive tool : self made.Plus a wallpaper stripping tool (narrow).
And a 99p sprayer from Poundland.. for spraying water: used a lot.


I was not brought up in Scotland for nothing....

No point in spending lots of money in year 1 if for whatever reason you stop keeping in year 2...
 
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rae 

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Gloves - I use the kid skin ones from Thornes, and they seem to be a reasonable trade off between protection and dexterity. There is an obvious problem with leather and infection control, but as i only operate a single apiary, I'm not overly worried.

Suits - you get what you pay for.

Trousers - I bee keep in jeans. I have learned not to beekeep in jeans with holes in them.... Bees seem to go for the head. Clearly if you drop a frame on your feet....all bets are off...!
 

SimonB 

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For gloves I use these - http://www.bees-online.co.uk/view.asp?ID=843

They give me a lot of confidence with the long elasticated arms, and they are thick enough to prevent stings, but still give some sensitivity. The only issue I do find is that when propolised a bit they do stick to frame ends a bit and I can end being a bit clumsy. However this might be true for all rubber/latex gloves. My original starter kit came with leather gloves, which I found too bulky and are hard to keep clean as mentioned.

I chose a fencing veil suit over the round hat, primarily because of comments I read that the round hat can slip forward when you lean forward, impairing your vision. Fencing veils can end up pressing against your nose, but just wear a baseball cap or similar.

I bought a cheapish suit from someone advertising in my BKA newsletter. My OH's has been fine (but not used often), the crotch seam on mine started coming apart, but has been fine since I mended it. Not sure of the material, can get quite hot in it, but never been stung through it (though no idea if a bee has tried to sting me). In hindsight though I wish I had splashed out a bit and bought a Sherriff.

As for suit/smock/trousers etc, my advice would be start fully protected and reduce as you are comfortable. I can't see myself moving from a full suit and wellies anytime soon.

Am curious though, why wait a year, you could probably still get on a Feb/March course and learn alot in time for gettings bees in Spring.
 
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thedeaddiplomat 

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Gloves: what you feel comfortable with. I have been using soft leather ones (with disposable light rubber ones over them to keep hem cleaner). Just moved to the heavy-duty rubber ones (from Maisemore). Others are much more macho - but I am more confident with the greater protection.

Hats: I have used both round and fencing. I think I prefer the fencing ones, which appears to have better vision. But if you go for a fencing one, wear a baseball cap underneath (the peak keeps it away from your face when it's windy).

All in one: for me always. The integrity means greater confidence. You can get some quite reasonable deals. Though as always, you usually get what you pay for. Why not start with the cheaper end of the spectrum, and when you eventually get your own bees, you will know more about what suits you?
 

Mike a 

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Why not try and en-roll on one of the many Intro to bee keeping courses in your area over winter or early spring and grab some of the recommend books suggested on this forum. If I was to sum up my course and beginners books versus what I've learnt from having the bees it would roughly be 60% from the course and 40% from the bees. So you've got 5-6 months to learn more than enough to get started in 2011.


:cheers2:
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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I use Nitril disposable gloves, bought on eBay for not much. I prefer them to marigolds as there is more feeling in them. Leather ones used for spectators or if I'm doing heavy work (the nitrile ones tear quite easily though so far have been sting proof).

I dont think the type of veil matters much as long as you stop it from potentially sticking to your face by wearing a peaked cap beneath.,

Got full length suit from eBay, I imagine some are good, and some not. Mines fine as long as there is additional clothing beneath - full length sleves and jeans. It was cheap too, PM me for details.

I use a smock for visits when I'm not expecting trouble and feeling lazy, but I've been caught out with unknowingly exposing flesh while bending down - very alluring for bees it seems, if not humans.
 

Midland Beek 

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Managed not to wear gloves once this season and they are now in my loft.

I use one of those bib type veils. And over the top I wear a bee suit.
 

chipper 

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****************.co.uk here in Devon have excellent Swienty smocks and suits and gloves reasonably priced and VERY robust. They re the only ones I ever had that lasted me more than 1 season......
I have a lot of hives.....And look at 20+colonies every day in season....
 

sawdstmakr 

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SPYTEC,
You could do what the professional beekeeper does that places hives next to my farm every spring. They are working on @ 40 hines in a small area. They where shorts, sneekers, socks and a T shirt. Of course I should mention that they have only 1 brood box on most of the time. I don't recomment this especially when you have a couple of supers on your hives. I just started 2 hives this year and I find the taller the hive the more I wear. Especially when taking the honey.
I like the fencing suit but you need something to hold it back away from your head to keep it in the right position. I haven't found that right object yet. :)
Jim
 

Skyhook 

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When I used to help my father I had a veil, a jacket and different bits all held together with string. I now have a full suit and love the extra confidence it gives me. I couldn't afford a sh***ff suit, so got a BB one with round hat which is fine, doesn't look so cool but stays off your face.

Leather gloves now in back of cupboard, marigolds better as well as lots cheaper.
 

Teemore 

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Started off with an inexpensive observer's smock and a pair of rubber gloves with attached sleeves from Modern BeeKeeping so that I could get a sense of what it was like to be around active hives before commiting to buying anything dearer and they worked really well. What i discovered was that for me the gloves hindered my dexterity a bit and I now vary between using them, a pair of marigolds or two pairs of nitrile gloves - one worn over the top of the other. Try different types of gloves and buy a pair that you can work comfortably in. I also discovered that bees CAN sting through thick denim..... they will also crawl up the inside of your trouser leg so I strongly recommend that if you don't go for a full suit, make sure you tuck your trousers into your socks. I now have a BBWear fencer suit and am really satisfied with it. Loads of pockets, good visibility and protection and it washes well. I still have the observer smock and it is handy to pull on at short notice.
 

psafloyd 

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Probably about 5/6 at the moment
For gloves I use these - http://www.bees-online.co.uk/view.asp?ID=843

They give me a lot of confidence with the long elasticated arms, and they are thick enough to prevent stings, but still give some sensitivity. The only issue I do find is that when propolised a bit they do stick to frame ends a bit and I can end being a bit clumsy. However this might be true for all rubber/latex gloves. My original starter kit came with leather gloves, which I found too bulky and are hard to keep clean as mentioned.

I chose a fencing veil suit over the round hat, primarily because of comments I read that the round hat can slip forward when you lean forward, impairing your vision. Fencing veils can end up pressing against your nose, but just wear a baseball cap or similar.

I bought a cheapish suit from someone advertising in my BKA newsletter. My OH's has been fine (but not used often), the crotch seam on mine started coming apart, but has been fine since I mended it. Not sure of the material, can get quite hot in it, but never been stung through it (though no idea if a bee has tried to sting me). In hindsight though I wish I had splashed out a bit and bought a Sherriff.

As for suit/smock/trousers etc, my advice would be start fully protected and reduce as you are comfortable. I can't see myself moving from a full suit and wellies anytime soon.

Am curious though, why wait a year, you could probably still get on a Feb/March course and learn alot in time for gettings bees in Spring.
I did my EBKA course in a borrowed BB Wear jacket with a fencing veil. Fantastic, but I went for a full suit for my first purchase, which cost about £90. Its in sage, so although not camo, not as conspicuous as white.
It's a great suit, but already will probably get another jacket (probably camo) from a guy on ebay.

Also picked up a large smock with a fencing hood for about £20 on ebay. Not the best quality, but very good and worth a lot more than a score.

From the start, have only used marigolds or latex/vinyls and want to get used to not using gloves at all.
I have met many very experienced beeks who use leather gloves, others use rubber and some none. Its a personal call and if you like the protection of leather and don't mind squashing more bees, go for them.
 

Silly Bee 

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When I used to help my father I had a veil, a jacket and different bits all held together with string. I now have a full suit and love the extra confidence it gives me. I couldn't afford a sh***ff suit, so got a BB one with round hat which is fine, doesn't look so cool but stays off your face.

Leather gloves now in back of cupboard, marigolds better as well as lots cheaper.

I have marigolds, but when going from hive to hive, I put fresh vinyl gloves over them. Stops any spread of nasties, and keeps the propolis off the marigolds.
 

Skyhook 

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I have marigolds, but when going from hive to hive, I put fresh vinyl gloves over them. Stops any spread of nasties, and keeps the propolis off the marigolds.
Good point. I have 1 pair of marigolds for home and 1 pair for the assoc. apiary- but for a new beek visiting others, marigolds + disposable probably a better option.
 

victor meldrew 

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SPYTEC,
You could do what the professional beekeeper does that places hives next to my farm every spring. They are working on @ 40 hines in a small area. They where shorts, sneekers, socks and a T shirt. Of course I should mention that they have only 1 brood box on most of the time. I don't recomment this especially when you have a couple of supers on your hives. I just started 2 hives this year and I find the taller the hive the more I wear. Especially when taking the honey.
I like the fencing suit but you need something to hold it back away from your head to keep it in the right position. I haven't found that right object yet. :)
Jim
Baseball cap works fine the exaggerated peak length holds the veil well clear of the face ;).

John Wilkinson
 

spytek 

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Thanks for the various suggestions and examples of what people use. I might try out marigolds with nitrile/latex gloves for hand protection and see how far I get. As for the veil.. looks like the fencing style is the winner. For the suit/smock.. still undecided on that one.. but I still have plenty of time to decide and buy.

Thanks again for all your help

Rob
 

buzz bee 

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As with the above, the BB full suit with fencing hood is the best and worth paying for. Has velcro bits in all the right places. Bought a cheaper suit, at half the price on ebay, for friends to use and is no were near as good. Use Marigolds to start with. I either use those or the blue ones with the cuff from the suppliers. Marigolds are cheap and you can use different coloured pairs if you go to someone else's place. All of them easy to disinfect.
 

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