3 Styles of Beekeeping Hats

3 Styles of Beekeeping Hats

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By Lance Murdock

Beekeepers have a variety of tools, equipment, supplies and protective gear from which to choose. Many of the most experienced individuals can perform all essential beekeeping activities without the use of very many tools and with limited or no protective clothing or gear. However, as a novice beekeeper, you should consider using at least some protective clothing to minimize risk of injury.

As you become more accustomed to working with the hive and hone your skills as a non-threatening presence for the hive, you may or may not decide to continue to use protective clothing.

There’s a wide selection of beekeeping hats on the market today and the style you choose will depend mostly on personal preference. All beekeepers hats are designed to maximize visibility while simultaneously providing some degree of protection from bee stings. There are three primary factors which distinguish the styles of beekeepers hat from one another: comfort, coverage, and usability.

Detachable Veil Hats

The least costly of hats available, those with detachable veils also offer the least reliable coverage. Small gaps between where the veil and other clothing meet or in the meeting of veil and hat seams can, on occasion, allow bees to enter. These hats are often used by experienced beekeepers who are not afraid of bee stings and who have mastered techniques of interacting with the hive in the least threatening and disruptive manner possible.

While the likelihood of bee stings is a little greater with a detachable veil hat, many people prefer the style for its flexible design. The hat and veil combination provides protective coverage while working directly with the hive, but the veil can also be removed, allowing the beekeeper to wear the hat while performing other beekeeping duties, like tending to the apiary grounds.

Integrated Veil Hats

This variety of beekeeper’s hat includes a veil which wraps the entire circumference of the head. The hat’s design minimizes the risk of bees gaining access to the interior of the veil but reduces the usability of the hat itself, with most beekeepers only wearing the hat when in direct contact with the hive. When performing other duties, most individuals will remove the hat to allow for better visibility and increased comfort. It is still possible for bees to make their way up under the veil, particularly in the back where you are unable to see their approach; however, if you are a skilled beekeeper who has learned the best practices of interacting with the bee colony, you may find the integrated veil hat is quite suitable for your needs.

Fully Enclosed Hats

The fully enclosed variety of hat is generally used with a waist suit or full body beekeeper’s suit and is the most reliably bee-proof hat there is. These hats are more similar to a hazmat helmet, fully enclosing the head, neck and face in a completely enclosed helmet with transparent veil panels on the front and sides to allow for good visibility while working. The helmet generally attaches to the beekeeper’s suit through the use of Velcro, zippers or snaps, though some varieties are designed to tuck into the suit, creating a multi-layered barrier to bees.

While the fully enclosed hat provides the greatest degree of protection from bee stings, the helmet can be uncomfortable for many beekeepers, limiting their range of movement and level of visibility. The enclosed design also makes wearing the hat for long periods of time difficult, particularly on hotter days.

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