A bee suit is the most basic tools you'll need to maintain and harvest honey. You may also need beekeepers hat and veil, a hive tool, smoker and work gloves. A pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt are just common sense, but they don't guarantee you won't be stung. Bees under attack can find a way in, especially up your pant legs, so a bee suit is your best defense against their offense. The best bee keeping suits are white since the natural enemies of bees are generally dark-colored bears and skunks. The material should allow you to pull off the venom sacs and be washable as bees release alarm pheromones, which they can smell on you well after you've worn the suit. With the right suit and your hive tool, you're well prepared to face any bee attacks.
There's nothing like spreading a dollop of honey onto a toasted English muffin for breakfast or adding a soothing spoonful to chamomile tea at bedtime. And knowing that it came from your very own apiary can add another layer of satisfaction to the mix. If you're on a budget, honey makes a great, inexpensive gift, and it keeps forever, literally, as archeologists have found it preserved in the tombs of pharaohs. You don't need a huge amount of acreage to keep bees: a modest-sized backyard will do the trick, along with a nearby source of flower nectar.The one drawback to bee keeping, and it's a big one, is the females' stinging defense mechanism. The only time female honey bees will sting you is if they sense a threat to the hive or if you get in the way of their beeline -- the direct path between the nectar source and the hive. However, since the harmless male drones only make up about 15 percent of the hive population, you have a strong likelihood of getting stung, especially when you're inspecting the hive or harvesting the honey. And this is where a bee keeping suit comes in handy.Harvesting the honey, typically done in late summer or early fall when the bees have prepared a surplus for winter, is when you basically have a great big bulls-eye on your entire body. Consider this: You're taking away their food supply, and they don't know that you'll be supplementing their nectar source over the winter with sugar syrup, so you're just a threat as far as they're concerned.