Should you wear beekeeping gloves?

23.07.2017. 22:00

Thinking about beekeepers the first thing that usually comes to our mind is a beekeeper in a recognizable protective gear. Managing the beehive and bees comes with a risk of being stung by bees. Usually most of bees are calm and won’t bother you, but beekeepers have to handle them upclose. For that reason, it is necessary to protect vulnerable parts of our body against stings. Protective gear is necessary, especially head gear. Beekeepers wanting to avoid getting any stings on their hands also wear beekeeping gloves. Beekeepers wanting to avoid getting any stings on their hands also wear beekeeping gloves. Opening the hive might disrupt the bees and make them more prone to stinging. And can you guess which body part is most vulnerable to bee stings while doing work in the hive? You guessed it right, it’s beekeepers hands! However, some beekeepers might debate the necessity of beekeeping gloves. We will tackle that issue, but firstly we should define what are beekeeping gloves and how they are used.

What are beekeeping gloves and how to use them?

As the name itself suggests, beekeeping gloves are special gloves made for beekeeping. They often have a gauntlet base and extend to the elbows, usually held in place by an elastic band. Materials used have to be tough but flexible, keeping hands mobile.

The beekeeping gloves are mainly used to avoid being stung as a sting on a hand will cause swelling, reducing hands mobility and usage of fine motor skills for a day. As hands are our most used tool in everyday life, it is important to keep them well functional and protected. Gloves are also used to protect hands from sticky honey and pollen, but what might be even more important - they are protecting from spreading bee diseases.

Bees like to crawl into little openings and slits so you should check your equipment for that and ensure that no bee can get under your suit, and to your skin. Beekeeping gloves go over your suit so that bees cannot get in under your sleeves.

How effective are they?

A level of protection beekeeping gloves provide depends on the material used. Most often beekeeping gloves are made of leather, but cloth or plastic can also be used.

Thicker materials are impenetrable by bees but also might be clumsier to use, while lighter gloves are easier to handle with but also increase the chances of being stung. For your best protection you should choose gloves that fit you well; otherwise, they will be very clumsy resulting in more stings.

As an alternative, some people use thin nitrile gloves which are more sensitive. That makes them a preferred material to some beekeepers as there is a lesser chance of bees being crushed while handled.

Even though they provide protection, many experienced beekeepers choose to not wear gloves or wear light ones. The reason behind it is the easier handling of the bees with a lesser chance of crushing them, and easier equipment handling.

However, whether you choose to wear them or not, you should be wary of hygiene of your hands. Dirty hands could bring in your hive something that should not be there; you might even spread bee diseases!

So, should you wear beekeeping gloves?

For beginner beekeepers, it is best to wear all protection, gloves also, until they get a better feel of how their bees behave and what might disturb them. Also, if you are allergic to bee venom, or you might be, choose thick sting proof beekeeping gloves to avoid any stings. As you learn more about bees and learn to handle the equipment better, you can choose thinner gloves. Choosing to wear them or not depends on your comfort, always choose what is most comfortable for you

Get yourself one pair!

You can buy your gloves in some store but you can order one from a service like an Amazon. There is one type of gloves from Natural Apiary. They are soft, pliable Cowhide Leather hands that provide a better feel, making the most intricate tasks easy to do. Prevent unwanted stings forever with this one of a kind beekeeping protective gloves. 

  • COMFORTABLE: Soft & Durable Cowhide Leather Gloves
  • PROTECTIVE: Extra Long, Thick Vented Sleeves
  • TWILL: Elasticated Gauntlets
  • TOUGH: Rubber Sting Proof Cuffs
  • SIZE MEDIUM: 23cm around your hand (knuckles)

I used these gloves the first time last weekend helping hive 10 colonies. One of the queens slipped between the frames and was instantly covered by thousands of bees (sure looked like thousands) and I reached in gently and scooped through all the bees and retrieved the queen to place her again between the top of the frames and I am happy to say I have no stings. I was able to work easily with the gloves on as well, which isn't always the case with most gloves. These gloves are a great product and definitely passed the test with flying colors. I am extremely happy with this purchase. Customer service emailed a couple times to ensure I received my gloves as well. A+++.  feedback by customer