The first thing to be clear about wasps is that they are generally a quiet species. Wasps almost always remain in the activity unless they perceive imminent danger. However, the continued proximity of the beekeeper in their hives or the constant movement could make them feel threatened. When a wasp stings, it will leave a type of pheromone on the skin that serves as a marker to indicate to the rest of the swarm that the marked person represents danger. If this happens to a beekeeper, we might ask: can wasps sting through the bee suit?
A concrete answer is yes. In reality, no suit can guarantee 100% immunity to wasp stings; wasps may penetrate the highest quality suits. However, bee suits help considerably decrease the chances of stings, depending on the quality of the materials and the degree of protection it has.
There are many types of bee suits on the market, from the simplest ones with only a jacket to full-body suits. However, even though these suits represent indispensable protection for the beekeeper, a bee determined to sting can still get through the suit material or find the tiniest possible opening. But don’t worry; we will continue to expand on this exciting information in the following sections.
Can Wasps Really Sting Through A Bee Suit?
Indeed, you have seen those impressive white suits with the veil on the head, which look almost astronaut-like, and you might think that a wasp can’t get through them and sting you. The fact is that wasp stings through these suits can happen.
The bee suits are wasp-resistant but not wasp proof. But while this possibility exists, stings through these suits are sporadic, especially if the person wears a full-body bee suit.
One proven factor that makes it possible for wasps to sting through these suits is a person’s carelessness. When the person does not completely close the zipper or the openings of the suit at the wrists or ankles, it makes it more likely that they will be stung. Based on human nature, people sometimes forget the basics when performing routine tasks. For this reason, you should always double-check and close all zippers and openings of the suit very well.
It can also get stung if the bee suit is of poor quality or fragile fabric. It is important to wash these suits frequently, firstly for hygiene reasons and secondly because the venom impregnated in the suit from previous stings can attract wasps.
Before removing the suit, be sure to gently remove the bees; for this purpose, you can use a feather brush to brush them away without provoking or hurting them.
Essential Elements Of Bee Suits
Beekeeping suits can vary in the degree of protection they offer. On the market, you can find beekeeping suits with full-body, only jackets, hats, and veils. Many of these suits are available in white or very subtle colors. Although the suits cannot guarantee that we will not be stung by wasps, they help us diminish the adverse effects of a direct sting. Some of the essential elements of bee suits are:
The Colors And Patterns Of The Bee Suit
Bee suits are mainly available in white shades with no significant embellishments or details. It is essential to know that bright or flashy patterns or colors may provoke wasps, as they may think it is a flower or a threat.
Hats And Veils On The Bee Suit
We must know that the first point of attack of wasps will always be the upper part of our body, specifically the face. This fact forces us to the necessity of adding a veil or hat that has a quality resistant mesh to our bee suit. It is important to check that this veil or mesh does not interrupt our vision.
When you get too close to the wasp nest or hive, you will likely get attacked by wasps. You cannot create a safe bee suit without gloves. The gloves should have a coating that is a soft, lightweight fabric that protects the skin while still allowing you to handle the hive gently.
The Shoes Of The Suit
Any insect can enter a person’s body through the most unthinkable and tiny holes, and one of the main ways of entry is through the feet. It would help if you always covered your feet with socks and sturdy shoes that prevent exposure to unwanted visitors.
Characteristics To Look For In A Bee Suit
Due to the wide variety of suits available, it can be a little confusing to determine the main attributes to look for in a bee suit to maximize protection from wasps. Some of the recommended features in a bee suit are:
- We should make sure that the suit has strong pockets that are deep and sturdy enough to carry beekeeping items inside.
- Suit ventilation. The suit should have a breathable and comfortable fabric while protecting your body against stings.
- The suit should be machine washable, and the veil should be hand washable.
- The space between the suit and the body should be loose so that you can wear more layers of clothing underneath the suit.
- The zippers and closures should be of high quality and should close completely.
- As bee suits are generally expensive, we should look for a specialized store with a purchase guarantee.
- The outer fabric of the suit should be soft, which will allow the bees that land on it to fly quickly without being hindered by the fibers.
Basic Precautions When Working With Wasps
Many beekeepers corroborate that they have been stung by a wasp at some point despite wearing a full-body bee suit. As we already know that the suits are not infallible, we should take a series of preventive measures to help reinforce our protection when working near these insects.
Always Wear A Bee Suit
Bee suits help reduce the chances of being stung. As we studied above, there are different types of suits, with the full-body bee suit being the safest. However, some very experienced beekeepers only use some parts of the suit, such as the veil, to protect only the face. Other beekeepers choose not to wear gloves, as they feel that gloves reduce their ability to perform delicate and meticulous tasks.
Experts Recommend The Use Of A Smoker
Smokers are a vital part of calming wasps before checking the hive. The smoker has three parts, the bellows, the fire chamber, and the mouthpiece. Smoke comes out of this device when the beekeeper pumps the bellows.
The primary purpose of this non-toxic smoke is to relax the wasps by masking the pheromone they use to communicate with each other. When a bee feels threatened or is injured, it releases a pheromone that alerts the others to the danger. Smoke interrupts this communication process, preventing a panic reaction in the swarm.
Always Consider The Weather
Wasps are insects that have a good mood when the weather is good. The best time to work with wasps is when the weather is clear and sunny. Experts do not recommend opening the hive on cold or rainy days.
Selecting A Good Place For The Hive Location
Experts recommend placing the hive where there is little movement of people or animals, which will reduce the chances of getting stung by accident. It will help if you are looking for a quiet place with good shade.
You Should Not Block Or Obstruct The Wasps’ Flight To The Hive
All hives have an opening that allows wasps to enter and exit quickly, i.e., this is their landing and take-off runway. It is not a good idea to obstruct this runway, as it will affect the flight path of the wasps. If this situation occurs, it will increase the stress levels of the wasps, making them more likely to attack.
You Must Work Calmly, Patiently, And Without Harming The Wasps
Although it may not seem like it, wasps are curious insects that naturally land on people to forage for food. When this happens, even wearing a bee suit, you should not react by hitting the wasp. This type of reaction will provoke an attack and, consequently, a sting.
The best advice is not to move until the wasp sees that there is no food and flies away. Beekeepers are careful not to accidentally injure a wasp, as an injured wasp will emit a dangerous pheromone and may cause the entire colony to go on high alert.
A Final Thought On Wasp Stings And Bee Suits
Bee suits do not entirely guarantee that wasps cannot sting us through them; however, these suits represent excellent protection when working with these insects.
Many people who get stung by wasps wearing bee suits are due to human carelessness. If there is one thing, a wasp in attack mode will find the slightest gap in your bee suit to penetrate and sting you as a defense mechanism. It is up to the person to wear a high-quality suit. You should close all the zippers well and complement your actions with other measures that increase safety levels.