Why bee suits are white!

Let me start off by explaining even though I have read a multitude of books and web forums on beekeeping, I somehow missed the whole point of why bee suits are typically white.  I now know why.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was amazed at exactly how gentle these bees are.  I had always been inspecting on nice sunny days, with just a long sleeve white shirt on since it seemed to be a thicker fabric than some of my other clothing.  I also wore a tan ball cap with a mosquito face net over it.  Never had a problem.

So yesterday I was going through my closet, and found one of my “tactical” outfits.  This consists of a nice pair of dark brown cargo pants, and a nice long sleeve dark brown shirt with a high collar that has velcro to hold the collar shut around my neck.  I immediately thought “perfect!!  my new bee suit!”.  Not wanting to miss the chance to sport my new outfit, I put it on, and found the matching dark brown boonie hat (it is the ones that have the brim all the way around the hat.)

As I headed toward the hive, I saw my wife over by our barn, and cheerfully waived knowing how great I looked and knowing she would be impressed with my new found use for these clothes.

I popped the top off the hive, and looked down inside.  One of the bees looked up at me, flew right for my face and started buzzing like crazy.  About two second later I had what seemed like 500 bees swarming me.

They say it is impossible for a human to outrun bees.  I would like to dispute that theory.  When I stopped running and screaming, I had covered 100 yards faster than Usain Bolt.  For some reason, my wife found this display highly entertaining.

So….after re-reading some of my books, I came upon a very interesting bit of wisdom.  One of the bees natural predators is the bear.  Whatever you do, do not open up your hive wearing dark brown clothing.  Hmm…wish I would have seen that sooner.

Anyway, now I know why bee suits are white.  Also, I now have a very nice white bee suit with a spiffy mesh hood.

Until my next adventure in beekeeping…..

John Grounds

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About John Grounds

John Grounds is a strategic consultant living near Indianapolis Indiana.
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