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Author Topic: Coveralls?  (Read 6699 times)
Bee Boy
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« on: June 07, 2004, 06:08:36 PM »

I was wondering, is it a neccesity to have coveralls? From everybody's personal experience could you tell me if you have to have them or not? I'm using just a veil right now.
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2004, 06:25:02 PM »

I usually only wear a veil also.  I do however find covers useful when doing any major manipulations like removing honey or preparing for winter.  Getting wax and propolis on your clothes can be a pain to get out.  I usually just buy a cheap disposable paint suit from Lowes for less than $10.  When it gets too dirty or starts to rip, I just replace it.
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mark
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 08:21:08 PM »

having worn both the tyvek and the cotton coveralls heres what i have found.  while the tyvek are inexpensive and stingproof (the bees can't hold onto the smooth surface to sting) they are extremely hot.  much more so than the cotton.  they don't breathe so you are soaked (literally) when you are finished working the hives.  cotton coveralls will evaporate the moisture and cool you somewhat especially if there is a slight breeze.  the tyvek seams are NOT very strong and before you know it you're wondering if any bees will find their way to the hole in the crotch cheesy ....always the first place to rip.
   the coveralls i have aren't sheriff's and they aren't thick or padded they are just a very dense weave and not very expensive.  they keep my clothes clean, i don't feel stings if i've ever taken any in them (i really don't know) and they give me the confidance to work the bees comfortably.  
  i have the cuffs long enough to drag on the ground so i don't need to tape and i bought two zippers to attach the veil.
  in my opinion if you need coveralls as i do the tyvek are a waste of money in the long term.  for quickies they are fine.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2004, 08:59:40 PM »

I had started out buying only a veil, and then I used a white sweatshirt and garden gloves. The only thing that "worked" was the sweatshirt. The veil drove me nuts because every time I bent over the hood part would slide down over my face and completely expose my neck. Then the garden gloves didn't work because they were just too big and clumsy - like wearing baseball mitts.

I now own a full bee suit with the zipper hood, and gloves that go up to the elbows. I like it. It gets hot, and I end up having sweat drip in my eyes because I can't really wipe my face....... but I'm confident in it.

Beth
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B DOG
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2004, 10:54:02 PM »

I have a coveralls and a vail and it is great. i have never been stung because i am completely covered. i also went to lowes and bought a nice pair of leather gloves that are realy tight, but not unconfortable. i also wear a nice pair of hiking leather boots. i am always protected because you never know what you are going to find once you get in there. first they could be in a really bad mood and this might be the only time that you can get in there, so work has to be done. second nothing could ruin a fun trip to the bee yard than being stung a bunch to times. and finaly, have you seen that comerical where the two guys are trying to get rid of that hornets nest in there front yard. one guy is standing on this latter and is about to cut the branch where the hornets are on but loses his footing falls into the nest pulling it down and landing on top of it. Wile bees are not hornets you are more than likely going to do something stupid like drop a frame or lose your balance and fall into your bee hive or yet tip you hive over. then you not only half to deal with, oh i don't know 20,000 bees or more but you would half to deal with puting the hive back together if you want to save it. alway go out there expecting the worst thing to happen that way whe it does you are fully prepaired. plus if you are new there is even a bigger reason.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2004, 02:18:53 PM »

I started out not wearing anything, because I had so many experienced beekeepers tell me they didn't wear any gear, and never got stung because their bees were calm, and they moved so slowly.

I tried everything, but I still got stung a lot.  In the hands, they eye, the neck...  Eventually, I started rushing along on my inspections, because I was getting bees stinging, etc.  I was putting frames back into place before the bees were clear of the tabs, because I was rushing.  So, I started wearing gear.

I like coveralls, because they're white, which seems to not excite the bees too much.  And man, for the love of Pete, do NOT get the 50% polyester suit.  I did, and BOY is it hot.  All cotton is worth the extra bucks!
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2004, 03:28:42 PM »

Jas:

It is a learned process - use your protective wear, but keep a slow and purposeful approach to your beekeeping. Watch how the bees react over time and you'll know if and when you can go in there bare-handed, etc..

I watch the opening scene to Fear Factor and this poor schmuck is standing in front of a two super high hive, I don't remember if I saw frames or just bees, but literally a thousand are airborn and attacking him like mad. There is a time and a place for everything and everything in time.

Mentally, it took me a long time to go in their without gloves. I didn't mind shorts and teeshirts, that came pretty natural, but I was clumbsy with gloves, and it took me the longest time to figure out that it was the gloves getting me stung, not me: with gloves, I would drop the frames into place instead of smoothly placing them - this (I THINK) is the MAJOR CAUSE bees go airborn and get jiggy on you. With gloves on, I alway found myself dropping the frame back in place from about 1/2 inch above the reating point - what a terrible thud and Buzzzz goes the bees.

It's very important too to scrape off excess wax and propolis from frames at the contact points. This makes each inspection about the same instead of progressively tougher. I scrape frames and the metal rail the super lays on using a 1 inch wide wood chistle - which is MY tool of choice for a hive tool - It is 5 inches long, has a very sharp blade and gives me a great amount of leverage when needed to free frames from the super, etc. It's also fairly easy to palm while still having two hands on the frame and its round handle it too wide to fall between the frames if I drop it. I've used standard hive tools, which are really handy when dealing with frame building, but I like the nice run hard plastic handle of a wood chistle.


If you can keep the bees on top of the frames (rather than going airborn) you have very little chance of getting stung. When I started working without gloves, I found I could interact much better with frame handling. I'll literally stand there for 30 seconds just waiting for a single worker to get her butt out of the way so I can set the frame in place without squooshing her.

Every squooshed bee causes several to fly and then you greatly increase the chance of problems.

Don't ever think there aren't times when suiting up is necessary - when I HAVE TO GET IN AND GET OUT QUICKLY - then I have no reservations of suit, hood and gloves, but I do everything possible to arrange my bee-time when I have plenty of time to inspect, etc..

Don't ever give up trying to master your inspection techniques - dressing as you feel necessary will keep tension between you and the bees to a minimal - if you are ALWAYS awaiting to get stung when under-dressed, then stings are just a matter of time away. It's not something you can learn overnight.

Prying lids and inner covers off can jar a hive, just as loosening a frame can cause a stir - you need to pace your motions like tides splashing on the beach, give the tide time to come back in before you toss a net in the waters for fish. The most important FEEDBACK is the hummmmmmm of the hive. When the bees are reacting and their buzz changes pitch, stop, let them settle down and do another step.

I know we went through most of this before, just repeating myself for the newer members, beekeeping is like bass fishing, everyone can have a fishing pole and lures, but the pros have learned to see things through the bass's eyes. Bees give you plenty of feedback, subtle changes in tone is usually more than enough to make me stand their silent, observing and awaiting my next approach.

To quote one of my favorite movies (Glalaxy Quest) "Never give up... Never surrender!" all things in time - and if it never happens, you still have a wonderful hobby with plenty to learn always.
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2004, 04:14:51 PM »

What about when you're holding a frame, holding it with both hands, when a bee gets tangled in your hair, and you can feel it get more and more frusterated, and you know if you don't kill it soon, it's going to sting, but you don't have a free hand?  Arrgh!
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Bee Boy
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2004, 04:36:46 PM »

I've never have worn gloves, figured I should get used to not wearing them.........
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Bee Boy
mark
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2004, 04:39:50 PM »

wear a hat.

  i know what you guys are saying about gloves.  at first i didn't like them either. didn't used to wear them.  when i did get them,  the cowhide with the vented sleeves i spent a lot of time trying different ones on to make sure they fit snug.  then just as with good hiking shoes i soaked them and wore them 'til they dried.  now they REALLY fit and it's almost like not wearing them.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2004, 08:57:15 AM »

During inspections I only wear helmit & Veil and gloves. One piece of equipment I have found indespenceable is the frame grip from Kellys.
Loosen frames up with the hive tool slide the frame grip onto the top bar and it gently moves the girls out of the way with it's blunt nose. Lift the frame with out fear for smashing one of the girls You have cofidence that the frame is not going to be dropped when turned so many more ways for viewing. The one piece of equipment I highly recommend.
 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2004, 01:06:18 PM »

I hear what you are saying Jas... I've had to grit my teeth and bear a few stings before, but there isn't any reason you can't single hand a frame and go after a stinger bee.

I don't use the Beekeeping for Dummies frame flipping method - maybe because I'm left handed (but doubtful) I just get it pryed out of place, left it with two hands and I look at one side the "Rotate my wrists" doing a complete upside down frame in my hand - again, side on is right side up, I rotate it bottom toward top and side two is upside down.

It's not recommend I guess, but I don't get a flurry of bees flying around. I then stand the first frame VERTICALLY against the hive off to the side so I have room to pry other frames out.

But if I have to handle a frame single handed, I hold the frame by a side rail toward the top rail, letting the bottom of the frame rest on my fore arm and I can hold it like this for a long time in its horizonal position. But if I'm going to just let it dingle downwards while I'm pulling bees out of my hair, I'll keep the same grip, but rest my arm hanging the frame low and away from my body or if I have to "again" set it down on the side rail up against the hive.

If I end up having more than one frame out of the super, but I don't have an empty super near by, then I'll lean them agaist trees if I need to - afer a minute, the bees on the frame are so into their bee-duties they hardly recognize that they are NOT in the hive. They also return to the super easily this way by just grabbbing the side rail, raising it back up, getting two hands on to it and slowly replacing it in to the hive.

I do agree though a hat (any hat) may come in handy. I keep my hair short so they rarely get tangled in my hair - but then again, I do everything I can to keep the bees in the hive when I'm working it.

EVERYONE gets a worker with an attitude, they love to buzz your face and make life annoying while you are inspecting - when this happens, or ANY TIME bees are a bit too active, walk away and come back with a little more smoke and give it a good 5 minutes and then try again.
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beefree
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2004, 03:02:51 PM »

i have recently gone from COMPLETELY suiting up (hat, veil, cotton coveralls, looong gloves, and jeans under coverall tucked into tall socks under hiking boots and smoking every hive i open) to just wearing the boots with long socks and jeans tucked in, a long sleeved white t-shirt  pulled over rose gloves and the hat and veil.  and foregoing the smoke if i am not harvesting honey or rotating boxes or other such things likely to really disturb  the bees.  this has worked so far.  i would like to get rid of the gloves next, but as long as the mosquitoes are this bad, i probably won't.  i can't even garden in broad daylight without having them all chomp my knuckles, and they aren't any better near the hives.
beefree
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2004, 11:27:13 AM »

I too, am plagued with mosquitoes.  I have a nearby stream, and ivy growing in my back yard.  LOTS of mosquitoes.

You should research the benefits of making a bat box.  Unfortunately, you can't just buy one from the store, put it on the side of your house and have a high probability of bats.  You have to paint it the right color for where you live, and keep it in the right amount of sun.  The best thing is to make it yourself, if you're handy.

One house can hold hundreds of bats, each bat eats hundreds of mosquitoes every night.
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