Prior to working with bees, you should really understand how the bees are making use of their first line defense. Even with a clear understanding, a beekeeper should still use protective clothing just for their safety. There are a lot of people who are allergic to bee venoms after being stung by a bee. This allergic reaction usually appears after being stung for the first time. So it is worthy to check whether you are allergic to bee stings if you decide to do beekeeping.
There is a belief that the more sting you get you will get more immune to bee stings in the future. That is why some beekeepers get themselves stung for several times. Frequent bee stings will stimulate the production of antibodies against bee venom hence the body becomes resistant and prevent the allergic reaction to occur.
Even though the beekeeper has high immunity against bee stings, he still uses the beekeeping suit that includes a hat and veil as well as using gloves. Some beekeepers prefer not to use gloves, since gloves might hamper the beekeeper's delicate work. On the other hand, bee stings on bare hands can be easily wiped off by a finger nail, just to reduce the effect of venom injected by a sting.
The most important body areas, like the face and neck should get the first priority of protection, since offended bees might be attracted to the beekeeper's breath. If bee stings still happened at this area, it will really be painful and with remarkable swelling. A bee sting on the face will be quite difficult to be promptly wiped off without the presence of a mirror.
A beekeeper protective suit is made of smooth material with a light color, usually white. A light color suit will provide a remarkable distinction with the dark color of bears and skunks, which are the bee colony's natural predator.
A bee sting on a beekeeping suit is easy to remove. To remove stings and venom sacs can be simply done using a tug. A beekeeping suit also protects the skin of being contaminated with the venom and enters the body. The removal of stings on clothing is necessary, since left stings might continue to function to release pheromone that provokes other bees to attack again.
Bees are able to recognize the scent of the beekeeping suit. So, it is important to wash your beekeeper suit regularly. This is to minimize the possibility of being attacked by the bees to revenge the dead of their fellow bees. A simple practice to mask the possible recognized scent, a beekeeper can wash his hands with vinegar.
Uno Birawan is a writer and wrote a lot about beekeeping. You can find more information on Beekeeper Suit or visit his site www.thehoneybeekeeper.com
Photo Credit: Kakisky
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