Sunday, August 4, 2013

How Bee Proof is Bee Proof? The Strengths and Limitations of a Good Bee Suit

This is a post that I put on Reluctant Homesteaders but I thought it would be good to have here also.

Being Spring, we have had a lot of interest in my post on the Ultra Breeze Bee Suit.
I have been pondering what I would say in a review of the suit for 3 or 4 weeks, and I have changed my mind several times on what exactly I have to say about the suit.

Not because the suit is any less than I expected, it is a fantastic piece of workmanship.
I love everything about the suit. It is easy to put on and take off. It has very good visibility, front and side. It really is very cool to wear, much cooler than the old suit I used to wear. It is especially cool if you are moving around, it really does breath.



It has large well placed pockets. It has tight, heavy duty zippers and hook and loop tape to prevent gaps at the closures. It is a fantastic suit, clearly designed by a bee keeper who knew what he needed and sewn by people who care about quality. This suit will last a lifetime.

Hopefully mine will be long.


But, and this is a big "but", because I cannot really put it to the sting test, I cannot say it is sting proof.
Being allergic to bees, I am not the person to be testing it for sting-ability. I wear it as a last defense against the 1% chance of being stung. I am not in there throwing around hive frames full of bees, I am gently coercing my bee friends to let me peek inside or change syrup jars on the feeder. I am mowing wide swaths of grass and brush where there might be a hornet.
That's me pointing importantly while wearing my Ultra Breeze bee suit. That's Buck catching a swarm from a neighbors valve box.
Any major interactions with bees- catching swarms, moving hives, is being done by my Bee Deputes, Buck and Jake.

And this is where my story turns a little more philosophical.

Although these precautions had lulled me into a sense of safety, I had a little wake up call last weekend. I was lifting a cardboard box in my studio and, against all odds, I pressed my bare arm against a Yellow Jacket that was crawling on the box and was stung.

There were no doors or windows open. There was such a tiny chance that a bee would be in the room at all. How infinitesimal are the odds that that bee would be crawling on the back of a box right where my arm would press? Anyone want to do that math?

Among the many things I pondered that night while in the ER, was the fact that I can never be "Bee Proof".  I cannot avoid bees even when I am in my own home. I cannot be bee proof.
I cannot wear my bee suit at all times. There is no reason to live being afraid of what might happen, because I can never really know what is going to happen.

I also decided that my final word on the Ultra Breeze Bee Suit is this: buy the suit if you are just wanting to reduce the amount of stings you get and you want to have a cooler, better fitting and more comfortable suit that is made in the USA by people who care. It is well worth the money. It is the Maserati of bee suits.

But don't fool yourself if you are allergic to bees. A nice bee suit is not going to be the panacea you are hoping for. Bees are everywhere and weird things happen.


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