Beekeeping Essentials: Tools and Protective Clothing
You need to have certain items to get you going with beekeeping. They fall under two
categories: beekeeping tools and clothing.
Think of the tools as your best friends. Without them, you can never get the work done efficiently. There are
plenty of tools recommended for beekeeping, but if you are just starting, you only need the most essential.
Smoker is one. When you pry open the beehive, you don't want the bees to flock toward you and sting. You would
want to calm them. Have a smoker to do the job. The smoker drives the bees to feed on honey, making them busy and
calm to even bother you. Use corn cobs, mulch, dried grass, and other like materials as fuel. But remember not to
use chemically-treated materials as they can put your bees at risk.
You will need a hive tool to complete many tasks. You will use it to open the lid of the beehive, to separate
the hive bodies and supers, to keep the frames apart, and to clean off propolis, a sort of glue bees like to gather
from plants. As you go along, you can find other practical functions of the hive tool.
The goal of the protective clothing is to help you work on your bees with no or less possibilities of being stung.
Some experienced beekeepers claim they can work without them, but this is not advisable especially for a beginner.
You need to put on complete protective clothing unless you want your first few experiences to be sort of
First, you need something to protect your whole body. Some beekeepers use a bee suit for this purpose. It looks
something like an astronaut suit with a built-in veil that resembles a helmet. This full suit is purposely in white
color because bees are attracted to dark colors. In the absence of a suit, you can wear a jacket or any
long-sleeved top that covers your arms. Make sure to zip or button it completely as you don't want a bee to get
onto your skin. Match your top with pants and socks. Remember, your entire ensemble should be in light colors,
white, khaki, or cream. Never wear anything dark.
Next is a veil. It protects your eyes, lips, nose, and practically the whole of your face. Because of the
associated discomfort and potential facial glitches, you don't want your face to get stung. Sting around the eye
area is very painful and can damage the eyesight. Sting on the lips can cause swelling. Same is true with the nose
and all areas of the face. Now to protect your head, use a hat in addition to the veil.
Gloves are important. Some beekeepers, however, prefer not to use them as they get more acquainted with
beekeeping. But as a beginner, you may want to consider wearing gloves in your first months. Use gloves made of
comfortable materials like thin leather, so you can work with ease.