I started my bees last April. All Summer, my outfit was a tyvek suit, veil and one glove. This gave me my clumsy, protected hand and my agile, sensitive hand. It worked really well. By Fall, they had built up quite a bit of honey and started to get a little testy, so I got stung on the hand (the agile one).
This last Saturday, I found that my hive had produced a swarm the day after I came home with my new queen for my intended split. After reading about how gentle swarms are, I began trimming branches away from the swarm so that I could easily fit a ladder and box under it. No suit, no veil and gardening gloves. Just as I prepared to climb the ladder and knock the swarm into the box, I put on my suit and veil - just in case. As I was ten feet up on the ladder, knocking the swarm into the box, I began to feel something on the back of my hand. Then my wrist. Then I realised what was happening with my "gentle" swarm. I climbed down the ladder quickly and scraped the stingers out of my hands, wrist (right up to wher the rubber band on my sleeve was) and the gap at the back of my neck. Thank goodness I thought to put on my veil! A sting in the eye, while ten feet in the air would have been bad news. After talking to a friend who used to keep 200 hives, she said that she always wore a veil and suit, because you just never know when something unplanned can happen.
So, for a while anyway, I plan to be safe not sorry. I'll probably shed my gloves again, once the weather and the bees go back to being calm and happy..