Beekeepers’ Personal Protection Equipment

As with those of us working and as volunteers and hobbyists at work Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should  be considered when carrying out Risk Assessments.

Stings will affect people differently and definitely spoil the enjoyment

Not at all good for those prone to Aphelaxsis

“One of the main components of bee venom, mellitin, is actually a highly basic peptide which is cytotoxic or kills cells. Bee venom also contains several identified enzymes that further act to destroy tissue and, not surprisingly, are found in inflammatory cells that are drawn into the reaction to the sting. Acting specifically on local pain receptors, this soup of reactive peptides can make the victim feel that massive damage has been done. The most dangerous aspect of a sting, however, lies in its induction of an allergic reaction; hypersensitive individuals can be at high risk of death from their own reaction to the toxins that are allergens. Formic Acid is another large component of bee venom”.

The writer recalls being overcome by a whole colony while trying to rehouse after storm damage. Bee suit etc appeared to offer little defence, They were determined to make someone pay. 4 hours in a cold bath .handfuls of anti histamine tablets and looking like Micheline man and peering though half closed eyes I pondered on the wisdom of attempting the rescue

Choice is generally left to the Beekeeper in line with his budget, preference, the fashion dictate or so in tune with his bees does not think it is required

Some designs may not completely have the length of a bee stinger in mind

But if running an Apiary it is recommended full protection is available, provided or suppled for anybody who enters ,works or manipulates the bees. The wearers to be aware of the need for the use

A buddy system will assist putting on and ensuring no undefended area of the body is left Bees can find the smallest gap in the defences.


The bee suit complete with integral hat and veil is the norm but can be combination of trousers jacket hat plus veil

Remember requirement for good ventilation as it may get hot.

Market carries many designs to suit all pockets

No discoverable standard for beeprotection. Basically you get what you pay for

If contemplating other tasks during your”beekeeping” you may need to have additional protective clothing to hand.

What ever design you choose ensure it is kept clean and maintained

Add a WBKA patch to your beesuit/jacket

Main area to be protected is the eyes and throat

Author recommends Old Castle Farm product Sentinel Pro 11 and gloves.



Gloves are not all things to all men

Generally we see the goat leather or nitrile gauntlet in use and becoming more popular the cheaper “medical” glove this allows more freedom of movement but not complete protection from stings and of course with BIO protection in mind can be disposed of sensibly after use           Beware use if Latex intolerance

Defence against bee stings not the only object.

Consider use of protective paints. handling of timber that may splinter. Saps of certain plants you may handle ,sharp edged and hot tools and Oxalic Acid

You may not want to spoil the new soft leather gloves for these tasks

Refer to many suppliers of work equipment who will recommend a glove to suit your assessment

On demand COSHH information from suppliers of manufactures of paints etc will include recommendations of type of gloves

Refer BS/EN Standards


“Wellies” preferred choice by many. There are of course many items of protective footwear available  ( you can tuck the trousers well into them)

If “wellies” can we include toe protection, undersole protection, lined for warmth, non slip soles and ankle protection

Can then be used in any condition away from the Beekeeping

Defence against wet conditions ,acids slipping nails in the foot and uneven ground and dropping stuff on feet

Available in pretty colours to match colour scheme of suits and in all sizes and even advertised for ladies use

Classed as Agricultural use

Other shorter designs that expose ankles (socks) will not afford protection

Refer to BS/EN Standards


For beekeepers? You ask.

If sawing timber.                             Dust

Plywood hardwood and softwood sandwich with an adhesive. The hardwood dust is said to be carcinogenic

Sanding timber.                               Dust

Cleaning debries from hive             Dust

Disturbing vegetation                      Pollen/dust

Use of chemicals                              Fumes

Refer to BS/EN Standards


Use of mechanical plant

Sound of Apiary Manager reminding you of your obligations

Refer to BS/EN   website for schedules.