If you're a beginning beekeeper, there's only one anwer to the question above...
When you’re starting out, wear bee gloves every time you work your bees.
Wearing the gloves will make you a little less nervous, and a little more confident
And when you are inexperienced at beekeeping, that's really important. Don't think the bees won't notice!
After you’ve been beekeeping for a while, and you've become more confident and comfortable, you might decide to do without the gloves.
Lots of experienced beekeepers routinely work without gloves.
Many beekeepers, in fact, work with only a veil for protection; others habitually use a full bee suit.
It really just comes down to what you are the most comfortable with.
But I've known of very few beginning beekeepers that weren't most comfortable USING bee gloves at the beginning - myself included.
Many experienced beekeepers feel that the disadvantages of using gloves outweigh the advantages.
One inarguable disadvantage of using gloves is that they are a bit clumsier than working barehanded.
Some beekeepers argue that this is a reason for not using gloves, believing that you can’t work the bees as smoothly with gloves as without.
There is some truth to this.
But on the other hand, if the gloves help you to feel more comfortable and confident, then likely you will work smoother with the gloves than you would barehanded.
So do wear bee gloves at the beginning of your beekeeping career. And then just keep right on wearing them if that's what's most comfortable for you.
When you're shopping for your first pair of gloves, don’t necessarily go for just the cheapest you can find.
This is an item where spending a bit more than absolutely necessary can really pay off.
Top quality gloves tend to be much more comfortable to work in. And gloves made of a soft, pliable leather can help to minimize – even nearly eliminate - the clumsiness of working with gloves.
I'd recommend these goatskin gloves (with canvas sleeves) for a beginning beekeeper. (I've been using the same pair of goatskin gloves for nearly twenty years. They're a bit ragged, but still serviceable.)
And though I haven't always worn gloves when working bees, I do always have gloves available - even when I'm not wearing them.
Because in one way, bees are kind of like people: They can be moody at times!