Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bee Proof

I have been a very frustrated beekeeper these last five months. Suddenly becoming deathly allergic to bee stings is such a blow to my plans. I dream of having lovely hives of honey bees everywhere I can nestle them.
Then one lovely June day last summer, I get stung on the cheek by an innocent honey bee being smashed by my glasses and off for an ambulance ride I go. And to add insult to injury, the ER doctor tells me my allergic reaction will only get worse the more times I am stung and sends me off to get my EpiPen (Epinephrine Auto-Injector) from the pharmacy. I barely remember the details of the incident, but I'll never forget the look on Bucks face when I woke up in the hospital.
I have now been stung two more times since the "Big Sting" and have managed not to die, but it is very stressful for everyone, especially Buck.

The other two times happened while I was mowing.  There is a lot of mowing to be done here, if we are ever going to reclaim this land from the invasive plants. And I am generally the one who is bound to mow. With bees and hornets everywhere, how do I even garden or mow, let alone keep bees? I could live my life in fear in a climate controlled highrise somewhere. No thanks.

 I am not one to let things get me down (at least, not for long). I've decided that if others can spend hundreds of dollars on formal evening attire that they will only wear once, I can certainly justify the purchase of my formal suit of choice, and I will wear it many more times.
This is my new, virtually sting proof, Ultra Breeze bee suit. Designed by a bee keeper, it has 3 layers of breathable fabric. The "breathable" part is super important since I will be mowing in it. Mowing is a sweaty job and I don't want to collapse from heat stroke.
The middle layer is a thick spongy net that keeps the bees away from your skin, so their stinger can't reach through.

The hood also has a completely inclosed fastening system. As does the zippers on the legs. It's easy to put on and take off too, once you get the hang of it. It is so cool that I'm sure I will look cool to anyone who sees me mowing in this. Like mowing on the moon.
When Buck was taking these pictures, I laughed and remarked that the suit is probably not very flattering, and he said "It's very sexy, because now you won't get stung."

He says the sweetest things.

Afterthought: Of course my Ultrabreeze suit came the day after Hive #1 swarmed. Read how our son Jake saved the day on my bee blog.
I also posted a more recent review and caution in "How Bee Proof is Bee Proof?"


  1. I am also allergic to bee stings. It also is not limited to bees. You will have allergic reactions to wasps and other stinging insects as well. I had large red ant "sting" my foot once and my leg had swollen up all the way to the knee! Be on guard!

  2. You rock! I admire your courage and determination to keep bees!

  3. bee careful. I have a couple of friends with severe bee allergies..personally I have not been stung since childhood but epiPens are all too common in my family: all fowl, shellfish, nuts, wheat, eggs...our family dinners are a nightmare where someone is deathly allergic to something being served, not to mention the 4 vegetarians..yes the family dinners are varied to say the least...allergies just seem all too common these days.

    I think you deserve a ride-on mower if you need to wear that suit to cut the lawn! hehe..take care and be careful!

  4. Good to see your success. I just got back from the ER after 4 stings sent me on a not so fun ride. 2 hit me through a sock 2 more through my suit. They were hitting my face screen like so many dimes.Left the hive area and they followed me all around the yard! Some say it is because we have a dearth and its fall. Some say it is the breed and I should re-queen. All I know is last years girls never stung me once - but they did leave me January:( Definitely out for the new suit. Have a cocked eye on this particular queen.

  5. I am curious to know how "cool" the ultrabreeze. Suit was. Was it worth the money? What did you think of your visibility with the hood? How did it hold up? TYIA!!!

  6. Nice bee suit. I never compromise with safety. Although bees are producer of honey, they are very dangerous. Their sings contain dangerous venom. The pain of the venom increase if your body has allergic effect. So, do not compromise with the safety. Good bee keeping suit is must for dealing with honey bees.


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