Why Do Beekeepers Wear White Suits?

Beekeepers predominantly wear white suits because honey bees have a natural aversion to dark colors. This defense mechanism has evolved due to their common predators, such as bears and raccoons, which typically have dark-colored fur. Wearing a white beekeeping suit helps decrease the chances of bee attacks, as bees are less aggressive toward lighter colors.

Why White Suits?

Bees’ Reaction to Colors

Bees are generally more aggressive towards darker colors because some of their natural predators are dark mammals. Bears, especially black bears, will rip a nest open to get at the brood and honey. White suits are selected because they are considered a neutral color, which calls less attention to the beekeeper before you open the hive. Once you open the hive, the bees will come at the suit, at least to investigate. Additionally, wearing white makes it easier for beekeepers to spot bees on their suits, reducing the likelihood of accidentally taking bees away from their hive.

Heat Reflection and Comfort

White is also an excellent color for reflecting sunlight and heat, making it a practical choice for beekeepers who often work outdoors in warm conditions. Darker colors, on the other hand, tend to absorb more heat, making the beekeeping process uncomfortable for the person wearing the suit. 

Types of Beekeeper Suits

Full Body Suits

Full-body suits provide comprehensive coverage and protection from bee stings for the entire body. These suits typically consist of a one-piece coverall that covers the beekeeper from head to toe, including a veil. Most full-body suits are made from lightweight, breathable materials like cotton or ventilated fabrics designed to keep beekeepers cool and comfortable, 

Jackets and Pants

Jackets and pants offer more flexibility for the experienced beekeeper, especially if the colony is of mild temperament. Jackets allow for greater mobility and the ability to mix and match garments for different tasks or weather conditions.

Beekeeping jackets typically come with an attached hood or veil and cover the torso, arms, and head. They offer protection to the upper body while allowing for more freedom to move, especially in warmer weather. Beekeeping pants provide coverage for the lower body and are often worn in combination with jackets for more comprehensive protection in the apiary. 

Ultimately, the right suit is the one that offers maximum comfort, ease of movement, and protection against bee stings.

Additional Protective Gear

Besides the white suits, beekeepers also use additional protective gear to ensure their safety while working with bees. Some of these essential pieces of equipment are:

Gloves and Boots

Gloves: Beekeepers often wear gloves to protect their hands from bee stings. Heavy-duty gloves made from leather or synthetic materials can offer excellent sting protection while ensuring dexterity. Some gloves also extend up the forearm to provide additional coverage.

Boots: Sturdy and waterproof, boots help to protect the feet and ankles from stings and the elements. Some beekeepers prefer to wear boots with gaiters or coveralls to maximize coverage and deter bees from crawling inside the boot.

Veils and Hats

Veils: A veil shields the face and neck from potential stings. Veils come in various styles, such as round, fencing, and square, offering varying levels of visibility and protection. Some veils are designed to be used with specific types of hats, while others can be attached directly to the beekeeping suit.

Hats: Beekeepers use hats to support their veils and provide additional sting protection for the head. A wide-brimmed hat or helmet-style hat keeps the veil and bees away from your face. Hats with ventilation holes can help keep the beekeeper cool during hot weather.


The main factor to consider when choosing a bee suit is to avoid dark colors that can trigger the bees’ defense mechanisms. Remember to clean it before every visit to wash off the alarm pheromone on the suit. Some bees will try to sting through the suit releasing the alarm pheromone that sticks to the fabric. That way, it’s possible to reduce the risk of bee aggression and stings during beekeeping activities.

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