As a professional bee tech, part of my job is to bee prepared to do the job. Whether the job is coaching a beekeeper working their hives, leading an applied beekeeping skills worker or do a live bee rescue, having the appropriate PPE on hand is important.
When we’re talking about beekeeping PPE, that includes hats, veils, jackets, gloves, eye protection, cuff straps, etc…
The primary reason to wear gear is to keep yourself calm, in control and not distracted. The more you are able to be those things, the better you will do at keeping bees calm and perform higher quality work.
I hate to wear gear. It makes me hot and uncomfortable. If I find that I don’t need it, the situation doesn’t call for it, I will keep it handy but not put it on. As it is, because I do wear it so often, I have a ventilated jacket.
Having said that, if I even suspect that there might be a call for wearing gear, I suck it up and wear the gear. Personal comfort is important, but not at the risk of getting yourself or others hurt or bees distressed.
If nothing else anymore I almost always wear a hat and evil. The bees seem to hate my hair. They fly by, get tangled and sting my head. Not fun. So, at least that much.
Wearing cuff straps over shirt/ jacket sleeves and pants legs can be invaluable to keep bees from marching into clothing while working bees before sunrise or after sunset. If you have no cuff straps, tucking cuffs into boots and gloves can work also
Eye protection. This may seem redundant when wearing a veil. However, especially when working a cut-out, debris can blow through the screen of the veil and get into your eyes. Not a good scenario when your full attention is necessary.
Beyond the safety reasons, especially when being a professional beekeeper or technician, people have expectations as to what a “professional” they are paying (sometimes a lot of money) should look like. As it is beekeeping related, they expect to see the hat\veil and at least a jacket.
Personally, I beelieve that making a professional appearance is important to encouraging people to take live bee removal services as a viable alternative to extermination.
Keep in mind though that most of my clients are property management companies and private business properties such as camping venues, etc… whose business insurance requirements necessitate they contract with a professional service.
You know the old saying about dressing for the job you want. They want a professional beekeeper. They expect to see one that they can recognize as such.
The PPE you have and use is just as valuable to you as any smoker, hive tool or hive equipment. It can mean the difference between a positive beekeeping experience and an unsuccessful, frustrating beekeeping experience.