How important is it to use a bee veil?
Bees are certainly fascinating insects, and great fun to work with.
But do you really want to be eyeball to eyeball with them while you’re trying to examine a hive?
Don't think so!
Few beekeepers, professional or amateur, will work their bees without wearing a beekeeper veil (sometimes called a bee mask).
Even those who use no other protective equipment will wear a veil.
But even those beekeepers who are so very comfortable with their bees will, almost without exception, wear a veil.
There’s just no reason not to.
A sting anywhere on the head is much more serious than a sting elsewhere on the body.
If you take a sting on your arm or hand and it swells some – no big deal.
But that same sting (and the swelling that goes with it) on the lip or eye – VERY big deal!
And can you imagine getting stung in the ear or in the mouth?
But it could happen (and probably will) if you don’t wear a veil.
Wearing a beekeeping veil can potentially save you from a world of woes. And if you buy a good veil, there’s really no downside to wearing one.
Good veils are very comfortable to wear. Good veils really don’t impede your vision much at all.
After a few minutes of wearing a good veil, you probably won’t even notice that you’re looking through the mesh of the veil.
If you're shopping for a beekeeping veil, there are lots of different options to choose from.
Some veils are totally self-contained units that come with their own built-in, hat-like support. But most are designed to fit over a hat or helmet that must be purchased separately.
When you're shopping, be careful. There are lots of 'insect veils' on the market that aren't specifically manufactured for use with honey bees.
So just be sure to buy a veil that’s intended to be used with honey bees.
After all, honey bees ain't mosquitoes.
I promise you: you don't want some generic, cheap mosquito or gnat veil in between you and some angry bees. You want a real bee veil.
(Here's an example of the type of veil NOT to buy!)
Each of the below would be a great choice. They really aren't expensive, and they're sold by a reputable, long-time, premier beekeeping supplier:
Note: I tend to prefer the square folding veils, like the two on the right. But that's just a personal preference.
And each of the above does not come with a helmet. Pith helmets are popularly used with bee veils (I prefer a white pith helmet).
When you’re putting on your veil and getting ready to work your bees, take the time to make sure that it fits snugly.
Speaking from experience, I can assure you:
The only thing worse than working with angry bees without a veil, is working with angry bees trapped INSIDE your veil!