If you’re a new beekeeper or on your way to becoming one, you probably want some form of protection in the case of stings. A bee suit is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe while you perform colony inspections and other forms of hive maintenance. Although bees are rarely aggressive if not provoked, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Correctly using a bee suit will ensure that you’re safe from most stings even if something provokes the bees.
New beekeepers usually have quite a few questions about, well, pretty much everything! When it comes to bee suits, there are often a few specific ones, which we will answer below. Are there options other than full bee suits? What else do you need to protect yourself? What must-have features should you look for in a bee suit? Where can you find the best options? And finally, what should you be expecting to spend?
Please note that when we say “bee suit,” we’re referring to a full, entire bee suit. A bee suit incorporates a veil and pants into the suit. You can also buy suits that don’t have a veil. In those cases, the veil must be purchased separately. It’s also possible to buy light jackets. Sometimes these come with a veil, but they only cover half your body. For a beginner to beekeeping, it’s essential to make sure that your entire body is covered, with any potential entrances to your clothes sealed. A full bee suit is the easiest way to accomplish that if you’re not used to being around bees.
A full bee suit consists of a jumpsuit-like piece of clothing with a veiled covering for your head and face. The ankles and wrists use elastic or ties to stay tight against your skin, and most bee suits do not have socks or gloves built-in.
Usually, you’ll tuck the bottom of your pants into socks, and then into boots. You can buy boots specially designed for beekeeping, but they’re not usually necessary. Whether or not you use gloves during colony inspections is up to you. Some beekeepers claim that the extra level of sensation and dexterity afforded with bare hands makes the potential risk of stings worth it. If you do wear gloves, wearing something light and breathable is best. Even thin gloves will offer basic protection against stings.
Along with your other equipment used during colony inspections, you should bring along a smoker to pacify the bees. If you’re allergic, make sure to bring an EpiPen along as well. It’s also important that you behave in a calm, deliberate manner that helps communicate to the bees that you are not a threat.
Especially if you live somewhere with hot summers, you’re going to want the lightest, most well-ventilated material you can get (while still offering significant protection from bees, that is). Make sure that you can get as close a fit as possible and that the suit is tight enough on your wrists and ankles. A bee suit should be light in color, too; preferably white, although khaki also works. Bees do not like dark colors. After that, you should consider things like pockets and the type of fasteners you prefer should.
You should also consider what kind of veil you want. Some bee suit hoods have a rigid structure with a veil that completely encircles your head, while others are what is called a “fencing veil.” Fencing veils feature enclosed hoods with a veil in the front. Some beekeepers prefer not to use fencing veils because the more relaxed structure can, under the right circumstances, allow a bee to sting right through the mesh. However, as long as the mesh is not against your skin, bees will not be able to sting you. The most important thing is that entrances to your suit are easily secured and that the mesh of your veil does not rest against your skin.
In some areas, farming supply and home improvement stores may have bee suits. However, the best place to find a high-quality bee suit these days is probably the internet. It’s easy to find dozens of hobbyist sites, as well as professional vendors. Then, there are always aggregate stores like Amazon with dozens of sellers of hundreds of suits.
It’s possible to get a bee suit fairly cheap, but even the most expensive bee suits are not horrifically expensive. The most you can expect to spend on a bee suit is a couple of hundred dollars, and paying even that much is pretty unlikely.
To find the best bee suits on the market this year, we consulted professional opinions as well as manufacturer and vendor information. We also consulted reviews from customers and amateur beekeepers to find out exactly what features the best bee suits have in common, and which options left people the most satisfied with their purchase. Then, we compared pricing, durability, and availability to determine exactly which suits should be on this list. Since we’re looking at suits for beginners, it’s important not to break the bank, so we’re making sure to include highly-reviewed affordable options.
The Best Bee Suit on the Market
So, what’s the best bee suit on the market? Different people have different preferences, so we’re going to include several options from various brands in case our pick for what the best bee suit is doesn’t quite match up with your needs. You can rest assured that this list will point you in the right direction no matter what you are looking for.
Humble Bee 410 Polycotton Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil
- Polycotton beekeeper suit with self-supporting round veil, heavy duty brass zippers, durable double-stitched pockets,…
- Medium-weight 50% cotton / 50% synthetic blend (280 gsm) provides outstanding protection against bee stings, plus…
- Tailored fit with an elastic waist, elastic wrists, and elastic ankles, plus thumb and foot holds to keep everything…
- Self-supporting round veil that ensures bees will never get near your face
- Heavy-duty zippers and double-stitched pockets
- Has an elastic waist, ankles, and wrists
- The fabric is a cotton/poly blend that balances protection against bees with decent ventilation
- Fairly expensive
- Customers love Humble Bee for their craftsmanship and attention to detail, and this suit is no different than their other products.
- A commercial-grade suit like this is pretty much bee proof.
- If you’re only planning to use it to monitor a beehive, it’s a great choice.
- Some reviews of this bee suit do complain about quality control.
- More than one person has had various issues with a received suit that forced it to be exchanged.
- Price is a little steep
- The thick material can protect against most stings — even wasps
- Somewhat spendy
- By all accounts, this suit does a great job doing exactly what it should — protecting you from stings
The vents also work well, and it has a lot of pockets.
- This suit can run a little small, so make sure you order a size up.
- Also, it’s kind of costly.
Bee Smart 600
- ⇒ High quality and tough 280 g/m2 polyester/cotton fabrics beekeeper suit with round head/veil, with heavy duty…
- ⇒ Suit fits perfectly even with pants and/or a shirt underneath, it has a removable head-cover/ veil
- ⇒ This suit is unisex with many hard-wearing pockets and it flawlessly closes so no bees can get in
- Cotton/poly blend
- Has extra-secure sleeves with thumb straps and an extra velcro strap over the tightening zippers
- Self-supporting round veil
- Tons of pockets
- This is a great suit. It can handle bees with ease, and you don’t have to worry about any of them getting in.
- Some reviewers even report successfully using this bee suit to clear nests of yellow jackets.
For the quality of this suit, the price is surprisingly low.
It’s a little heavy and hot.
ASPECTEK New Professional Medium Cotton Full Body Beekeeping Bee…
- ★Ventilated beekeeper jacket with self-supporting round veil, veil with fixable strap
- ★Medium-weight 100% cotton cloth provides outstanding protection against bee stings, while ultra-breathable 100%…
- ★Tailored fit with an elastic waist and elastic wrists, plus thumb holds to keep everything comfortably in place
- This bee suit is 100 percent cotton for extra protection against stings and uses breathable panels for ventilation
- Has an elastic waist and wrists
- The extremely durable material can be washed in the washing machine
- This is a great budget option
- The material of this bee suit is reportedly very strong, and many reviewers praise the durability of the suit.
- We also couldn’t find it anywhere for more than fifty dollars, which makes it a fantastically affordable
- Make sure that you double-check all openings and have a friend look for openings, too.
- Several reviewers have complained that bees were able to gain access through a flap near the veil of the suit that does not velcro closed.
- Breathable, lightweight design
- Zippered ankles that also use elastic
- YKK zippers
- Elastic wrists
- Tons of pockets
- A full, round veil
- Fairly expensive
- Many reviewers praise the breathability of this bee suit.
- We could not find a single customer complaining of bees managing to gain entry or sting them through the suit.
Customer support from BeeKool is excellent in the event of any issues.
- The price of this bee suit is a little steep.
- Doesn’t appear to come with donning/doffing instructions.
- Some people also complain that sizes run small.
Thanks to the low price, full list of features and customer satisfaction, our favorite bee suit of 2018 is the Bee Smart Heavy Duty Bee Keeping Suit. Of course, some beginning beekeepers might be looking for something slightly different, in which case another option on the list could be more suitable. Do you have a favorite bee suit? Let us know what brand you like in the comments!