When it comes to beekeeping, you need to protect yourself from bee stings. One of the best ways to do this is by wearing beekeeping gloves. But what makes beekeeping gloves different from regular gloves? Which beekeeping gloves should I buy? What are the best gloves for beekeepers? Let’s find out together!
What are Beekeeping Gloves?
Beekeeping gloves are a type of glove that is worn when working with bees (you don’t say!!). They are typically made of a thick, durable material that can protect the hands and often arms from stings.
You may think you can use any thick gloves whilst beekeeping, but that is not the case. These beekeeping gloves are often specifically tested with Africanized bees (which are one of the most aggressive), meaning you are far less likely to get stung whilst wearing them.
The Different Types of Beekeeping Gloves
There are many different types of beekeeping gloves. Some are made of cloth, some are made of leather, and some are made of a combination of cloth and leather. The gloves come in different sizes, and some are adjustable. The gloves also come in different colors, including black, white, and tan.
The main choice you will need to make is regarding the thickness and sting proof nature of the material the gloves are made out of. You can either go for something thinner and flexible that will help you have nimble fingers when working your hives. Or you can for something thicker that will slightly numb your touch and feel at these times. You need to decide what you want more, dexterity or sting protection!
Thicker gloves will also lead to you crushing and killing more of your bees, as you simply won’t be able to feel them on such thick gloves in the first place.
Tips for Buying Beekeeping Gloves
Get a Good Fit!
Beekeeping gloves come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important thing is to find a pair that fits well. Too tight and they’ll be uncomfortable, too loose and they could fall off. Look for gloves that are snug around the wrists and have long cuffs to protect your arms.
Luckily, most of the gloves recommended below come in a wide variety of sizes. Just make sure to study their size guides carefully to make sure you get the perfect fit for you. Trust me, even slightly floppy or loose gloves will be incredibly annoying over time! Best to get it right at the start! Get your ruler out and measure your hands!
Make sure to wash your beekeeping gloves on a regular basis. This will help prevent you from spreading disease from colony to colony, something that could quickly wipe out many bees if you are particularly unlucky!
You could also put some disposable latex gloves over the top to keep the gloves underneath dry and clean whilst working in your apiary. Although personally I wouldn’t do this because of the possible environmental impact of creating so much waste plastic.
Our Top 5 Beekeeping Gloves in 2023
All of the recommended gloves below are from Amazon. Simply click on the product image to view the gloves over there yourself.
1. Humble Bee 110 Goatskin Beekeeping Gloves
The Humble Bee 110 Goatskin Beekeeping Gloves are perfect for anyone who is looking for a durable and reliable pair of gloves. The hand section is made of goatskin, which makes them tough and able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. This is coupled with a heavyweight long cotton sleeve to make sure you don’t get stung.
They also have a comfortable fit, which makes them easy to wear for extended periods of time. Humble Bee has even thought of sewing the finger sections of the hand in such a way to provide maximum dexterity whilst keeping your bees. Genius!
Coming in eight different sizes, it means you can get the right pair that will fit your hands like a glove (literally). Just make sure to look at their sizing guide and actually measure your hand to get the most out of this feature.
And to top it all off, the gloves look great with minimal but classy looking (well, as classy as a bee brand can look anyway!) branding and a well made feel.
Last but far from least, The Humble Bee Store says that they will donate some of the proceeds from this glove to good bee related charitable causes. Although it would be even better it they gave more details on this!
2. Forest Beekeeping Premium Goatskin Leather Beekeeper’s Glove
Another pair of beekeeping gloves that are similar in look and feel to the Humble Bee example above, they are just slightly cheaper in price. And if you don’t like branding on your beekeeping gloves, these don’t have any.
They go with the same formula of a goatskin main section around the hand and a canvas sleeve that will extend to around your elbow. They come in six different sizes so, althoguh not quite as good as the eight offered by Humble Bee above, should be enough to help you get a good fit.
Forest Beekeeping also point out that these gloves come with a warranty against any manufacturing defects or issues. So if you receive them and find issues you have confidence you can get a refund or a replacement pair.
3. Premium Beekeeping Gloves by Foxhound Bee Company
Foxhound Bee Company’s beekeeping gloves are premium quality and are perfect for protecting your hands while working with bees. They are made of durable cotton with a comfortable fit, and the gloves have a snug elastic band that keeps them in place. The gloves also have a long cuff that can be turned up to protect your wrists and arms from stings.
The main difference between these Foxhound Bee Company gloves over the others above is the fact that rather than a canvas sleeve, they have gone for a 3 layer mesh material. This will give you better breathability and stop the gloves from becoming too sweaty. They also come in six different sizes so you’re likely to get a good fit. Although, again, not quite good as the Humble Bee gloves.
This is a high quality and well put together beekeeping glove. I think it would be well suited to any beekeeper that operates in hotter temperatures. You will pay slightly more than the first two gloves above, but it is worth it for the extra breathability.
4. NATURAL APIARY – Cowhide – Beekeeping Gloves
The natural apiary cowhide beekeeping gloves are a great option for those looking for the ultimate protection with their beekeeping gloves. Cowhide is thicker and will provide much better protection than the goatskin gloves above. Just be aware that your dexterity whilst beekeeping will be slightly reduced. Although I wouldn’t recommend these thicker and less ventilated gloves in hotter climates.
If you have any kind of allergic reaction to bee stings, these gloves provide some of the best protection around and would be highly recommended for this situation.
I like how Natural Apiary doesn’t only offer a 30 day warranty for manufacturing defects and faults, but also for problems with size and fit. So if you’re not sure which size to order or the gloves don’t fit you perfectly, you can always return them.
For high quality and highly sting proof gloves, these might be your jam 🙂 Yes, you pay a bit more, but this is expected when you are getting the thicker cowhide.
5. Playtex HandSaver Reusable Rubber Gloves
If you want a cheaper alternative to the leather and cotton beekeeping gloves detailed above, you can get good service out of plain old rubber gloves that you would usually whip out to wash the dishes!
Not only are they cheap, but they can be washed and re-used, making them much better for the environment than disposable rubber nitrate or surgical gloves. And perfect if you want to wash your gloves in between hive checks to minimize cross contamination. Wet leather gloves are no fun!
The long sleeve design of these rubber gloves makes them perfect to minimize bee stings whilst beekeeping too. And the rubber durability makes them decent at preventing bee stings in general, although not quite as good as leather gloves.
If you are looking for something cheap and simple, this could be a good choice.