I’m the actual worst at fashion. Also I’m barely not the worst at bees. But hey, I’ve learned a few things so WHY NOT.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR: BEE EDITION
One might think, HEY, protect my eyes, wear sunglasses! I mean, you’re half right. Bees defensive mechanism is to go for the eyes. It’s the only thing that’ll get a predator, like a big fuzzy bear, out of their hive. But, here’s the thing. How do they decide where the eyes are? LOOK FOR DARKNESS. So, if you’re wearing LARGE, DARK sunglasses you’re basically saying, “DUDE I HAVE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST, MOST VULNERABLE EYES, PLEASE COME GET ME.”
So yeah. Veil. Not sunglasses.
#2: Dark Colors
I mean, this is basically the above. Dark colors = MAYBE EYES?? See, I always thought beekeepers wore white because it’s supposed to promote cleanliness or something. Nope, it’s so you can be like “HEY NO EYES HERE.” Also, KEEP IN MIND, that bees see colors differently from us. They have no photo-receptors for red, for example, so if you wear red, it looks like black. (Which is dark, obvs.) Interesting article: How Bees See and Why it Matters.
#3: Animal Fibers
One would probably think, “HMM what are the thickets socks I have? AH, WOOL, PERFECT!” I did it. Well, here’s the thing. When you’re doing bee things, you want to NOT smell like a mammal. Turns out, mammals are the number one offender when it comes to “let’s take all the honey.” So, if you’re wearing animal fiber, that area of your body is more likely to be targeted by angry bees. This is a great time to note that if you are a smelly, smelly human, like I am, best to shower sometime before popping the lid on that hive.
#4: Perfume, Cologne
I mean, again, smells. Try not to smell bad but also try not to smell too good. Like, just try not to smell at all. SMELL NEUTRAL. It’s hard, I know.
#5: Skinny Jeans & Super Sexy Tanktops
I mean, you can. But the less room between your clothing and your skin, the more likely if an angry bee wants to stab ya, you’re gonna get stabbed.
#6: Holey Clothes
I know, it’s hard. You don’t want tight clothes, but you don’t want lose clothes so bees can you know, get trapped between your clothes and your skin. It’s so complicated.
Panic isn’t a great look on anyone. If a bee bumps your veil, back away and give them some space. If a bee flies into your hair (this basically happens on any sunny day with me now), TRY NOT TO FLIP THE CRAP OUT. I know. It’s the most natural response ever. I have curly hair so walking through the yard if a bee hits me I often get this lovely “IMMA STUCK BUZZ BUZZ HALP” sound RIGHT BY MY EAR. It’s fine. Just stop (and don’t drop and roll). The faster you move, the more a bee is gonna flip the crap out. Slow movements, like you live and breathe tai chi. Bees have like crazy seeing superpowers so swatting them when they’re flying is REAL HARD, and also, will make them angry. So just no. If you have dark hair and/or crazy hair like me, tie it back and use a light colored bandana over it. Remember, a honey bee* DOES NOT want to sting you. It kills them. If you do get stung, scrape the stinger out of your skin and LEAVE. When a honeybee stings it releases pheromones so you’ve basically been tagged as a big, mean target. Tai chi your way out of there.
* Yellow jackets and hornets are another story. KILL ON SIGHT. I mean, what. Bumble bees also keep their stinger, but I love them so just like, don’t troll them.
If you’re going to help someone with their bee hive (or if you’re letting someone help YOU with your hive), here’s something to keep in mind. Guests should ALWAYS be wearing more protection than the person opening up the hive. Why? Because while the person opening up the hive may be the “primary aggressor,” the beekeeper needs to look out for their guests first. If the beekeeper is fully protected and has bear mode engaged they may not be aware of how riled up the hive is getting, but the guests sure will! If someone enters the area when a beekeeper is doing a hive inspection and is not wearing protective gear, they need to be stopped and removed from the area or equipped properly. People, I realize more and more, are terrified of bees. It’s a beekeeper’s job not only to take care of their hives but also be a good educator and bee advocate to the public.
The more you know! And knowing is half the battle. 😉