I hear from new beekeepers all the time” I watched so and so, and they don’t wear any protective gear” that’s fine, I tell them all the same thing don’t wear your bee jacket, I promise you are going to find out what it feels like to get stung.
Look, bees are not domesticated creatures they act out of genetic reflex. One day you open the hive, and they don’t care your there, the next time they hit you like you’re the devil himself. Anyone can film a Youtube video on a nice sunny day when the workers are out harvesting nectar; however, day in and day out if you want to enjoy your time working in your hive wear your gear. Have you ever seen someone that has been stung in the eye ball. I admit I don’t wear gloves but getting stung on the hands is nothing like getting popped in the face.
When I work on my bees, I always wear my jacket, and if you can afford it get a ventilated jacket, in my opinion, they earn their worth.
If you are new at this wear, your gloves learn how to inspect your frames, going slow and watching where you put your fingers will go a long way in keeping your bees happy. Early in the morning and late in the evening are times when you will learn that your bees aren’t always tollernt of you. This is when all the bees are home, the same goes for cloudy overcast days. When all the workers are in the hive, the defenders are ready to do their job. Your nurse bees are only two weeks old they have never been out of the hive and its not their job to defend it.
Learning to use your smoker is also important, it’s not necessary to overuse it; however, its a useful tool in moving bees without getting them too excited. I have seen beekeepers smoke the entrance of a hive and then put smoke in the top of it. If want to move the queen or the bees down, I smoke the top of the hive. If I’m trying to find her, I smoke the entrance. The bees are going to move away from the smoke. Use it according to what you want the bees to do.
Your protective gear will become second nature to you as you learn to work your bees without killing them. I know that seems to be a stupid statement but watching newbie beekeepers they kill bees without even knowing it. Watch how you put your boxes together don’t smash bees, don’t roll bees when you remove frames.
Before you get into your hives, make sure your jacket is zipped up, no cracks, put on your gloves, make sure your jacket is pulled down in the back. Have your hive tool, smoker,
and anything else ready that you plan to use. If you wear glasses put them on before you open your hive.
I hope you have fun working your hives using common sense can go a long way to make that all happen.