Beekeeping clothing and how to take care of them

Published: 30-09-2022

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro beekeeper, one thing is for sure… we don’t like getting stung! That’s why beekeeping clothing is so important. Some experienced beekeepers have built up a bit of an immunity to bee stingers, but let’s be honest, it’s never pleasant! There’s also people who really suffer due to things such as allergies. Whatever the case, it’s important to be as protected as possible – especially if you’re just starting out.

So, what do you need?

Beekeeping protective clothing typically consists of suits/jackets (we recommend opting for suits if you’re a beginner), veils (typically fencing or round), gloves and boots. There are loads on the market, and sometimes it can be a bit daunting. However, just remember that the more protection you want, the thicker the material you’ll need.

We offer a different selection of material thicknesses, from our thinnest Buzz Basic suits to our thickest brand-new Defender range

But what about veils?

This bit of kit is vital for your protective gear and is designed to protect your face and eyes from any nasty stings, all while giving you maximum vision on your beekeeping tasks. Some bees will target your head as it’s a vulnerable spot, so a fine mesh veil is needed. But which one?

Fencing Veils

These are designed to give you full vision at the front and partly at the sides. These zip on to your suit or jacket to ensure no bees can get in. Lots of beekeepers like to wear a cap underneath these.

Round Veils

These can zip onto your suits and jackets but can also be bought as a separate piece of protective clothing that typically has a drawstring. Round veils enable 360° vision and sit quite comfortably on top of the wearers head.

How do you detach the veils from suits and jackets?

We get many questions about this as some of our suits have single zippers, whilst others have double zippers that attach the veils. If you’re ever unsure (and believe us, this does happen), Simon made some videos to ensure you can do it with ease. You’ll need to remove your veil to wash your suit or jacket. Veils are not suitable for machine washing, so you’ll need to handwash them separately.

Single Zipper (Buzz Work Wear suits, jackets and tunics and Buzz Basic suits)

Double Zipper (Defender range, Professional range, Buzz Work Wear Cappuccino jacket and Buzz Work Wear Lightweight)

How to care for your beekeeping clothing

Veils - As mentioned above, the veil isn’t suitable for machine washing. It runs the risk of being torn or bent out of shape – not what you want! The best way to handwash your veil is to add a small amount of washing detergent to warm water and soak the veil for around 20 minutes. It’s okay to get a soft brush and scrub it a little as you’ll want to remove any nasty bits that have accumulated. Then simply rinse with clear water a few times to remove any remaining soap suds before hanging to dry in the shade.

Suits and jackets - Over time, your suit or jacket will get dirty with various bits of wax, grass stains, propolis and sweat (especially in those summer months!). So, it’s a sensible idea to give it a wash. Suits and jackets are machine washable, but here are a few tips to make things easier:

  • Firstly, after removing the veil, check the pockets to be sure there’s no debris or bits and bobs you’ve forgotten about. You can pre-treat the stains if you feel it’s necessary.
  • Secondly, you might notice some wax on your clothing. You can scrape off whatever you can, but if you’re struggling to remove it, pour some hot water onto the wax from the back of the material going through to the front. This should help melt off any remaining bits. Obviously be mindful of where you do this – outside is always a good idea!
  • Thirdly, if you notice any propolis stains, be aware that these are very hard to shift and never come out completely. However, if you use some high stain tackling detergent, it can help a great deal. The same goes for grass stains. Be sure to pre-treat to help remove them.

Even if your suit or jacket appears quite clean, remember that over time it will accumulate the alarm pheromones that are released by the bees when you visit your hives. If bees detect this, it can make you a walking target for them. It’s not their fault, they’re just defending themselves, but you will do yourself and the bees a favour to wash your garment. Airing it can help, but a full wash is much better!

Some more helpful tips for the wash

  • Before washing your suit or jacket, be sure that you’ve loosened any elasticated cord tighteners, zipped up all the zippers and fastened any Velcro parts together.
  • Wash the suit or jacket on its own, to stop the transfer of any bee related stains, smells, and wax to your normal clothing.
  • Use the warmest temperatures allowed in accordance with the wash tag instructions. This will help to give it the best clean, and there’s no need to use fabric softener.
  • Hang it up in the shade to dry afterwards. To help with faster drying, simply undo the zips and unfasten the Velcro parts.

Treat your clothing with care

Be sure to thoroughly inspect your clothing on a regular basis, looking out for any rips in the seams or any gaps where the bees could creep in. If you care and maintain your beekeeping clothing well, they can last for a very long time.

Don’t forget

Our Defender and Professional range come with a 2-year guarantee and covers your suit against issues with the fabric, veil mesh, stitching, zip faults and suit malfunction provided they have been used, stored and cleaned whilst adhering to the guidelines provided on how to care for them.

Get in touch with us

If you have any questions at all, we'd be happy to help. Just email us at:

Happy beekeeping!

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