Bee keeping is an old and enduring pastime. It requires time, dedication, and patience. It is also a risky profession if you don’t take due care! The most common dangers beekeepers face are bee stings and severe allergic reactions to bee stings. Most beekeepers wear suits to protect themselves from such things and, for some reason, a lot of them are white. Why is that? Read on…
Beekeeping suits aren’t just for keeping bee stings out of your skin, they are also designed to make you look stylish whilst beekeeping (joke!!). Way back when, the first beekeeper’s suits were made of the skins of slaughtered animals, which the beekeepers used to protect themselves from bee stings. The modern beekeeping suit, however, evolved from the fur of special goats. The skins of these goats are thin enough to allow the beekeepers to feel what is going on with the bees, but thick enough to protect the beekeepers from bee stings.
When thinking about the beekeeping suits you and I wear these days, it makes me wonder. Why are they…… ALWAYS WHITE!! Why is that? There are several theories out there… which one do you think is most likely?
Most Beekeeping Suits are White Because…..
They Deter Bees
The main reason that I have heard as to why a beekeeping suit is often white is that it will deter bees. Some say that because most predators that would disturb bee hives (i.e animals!) are dark in color, a white bee suit tells the bees you are not a threat.
It Aids Beeswax Extraction
The second is that white is a natural color for beeswax, the waxy substance that the bees build their honeycombs out of. Since the beeswax is what most beekeepers extract their honey from, having white equipment makes it easy to spot when it begins to darken, which indicates that the wax is beginning to lose its structural integrity.
It Keeps you Cool
It is commonly known that white color helps to reflect the suns rays, so having a white beekeeping suit will help keep you cool when you are standing out in the field all day long!
They Help you See Bees on You!
Another theory I have heard talked about is that beekeeping suits are white so that you can quickly and easily see when a bee has landed on you, as the color of the bee will stand out against the white of the suit. Great for when that aggressive African bee is out to get you!
So You Stand Out!
This has to be the craziest theory I have ever heard, but I will tell you all the same. The idea that white is very eye-catching against the dark colors of the beehives. Well I can tell you that this particular thought has never crossed my mind whilst beekeeping, how about you?
What About Grampa?
You might think that beekeepers suits are supposed to be white after reading this, however in reality they don’t necessarily have to be. These days you can buy a beekeeping suit in a variety of colors (usually natural colors like brown or green).
Yes, most of my beekeeping gear is white, but that is not because I picked that color but more because that is what is widely available. To be honest, I didn’t really give color much thought when buying my suits. The main reason I buy and wear beekeeping suits is not anything to do with the color, but more to do with aggressive bees not stinging me.