"Beekeeping just got a whole lot clearer"
After years of using beekeeping veils with basic functionality and poor visibility we realized we needed to re-imagine how this 100 year old technology of the traditional beekeeping veils could be modernized and improve the beekeeper's experience.
Beekeeping can yield delicious rewards of fresh honeycomb but isn't the true reward being able to observe our bees clearly and be visually captivated by our precious bees at work?
Corwin designed the BeeGuardian® Veil for beekeepers and researchers requiring through-the-veil visual clarity and the ability to accurately observe complex transitory bee behaviors. Most importantly we wanted everyone to have a clear view into the bees world and to be able observe our cute and fuzzy Anthophila, that's (the bee species family) !
Purchase the new BeeGuardain® Veil
The Story Behind the BeeGuardian® Veil
While I'm a crappy salesman and not a great promoter, I do get excited when I have a cool idea or have found a good solution in beekeeping equipment and want to share my experiences. I also don't like to sell anything that I don't like to use myself. So this brings me to the bee suits we have been selling.
Old style: good
Old version of the commonly used bee suit with hard-to-see-through screen mesh, you can see Michelle pulling the hood at an angle to be able to see out of it
Basically, we sold these suits because they are affordable and do a good job of protecting us from bee stings. They are also great for building confidence while around the bees, until we begin to get a feel for when our bees are agitated and when we should dawn our bee suits or when we know the bees are too busy to care and we can dance around the hive naked.
Because I don't usually wear a bee suit or costume, as I like to call them, I haven't really had much of a chance to see how they work and if they are the best choice for the money. Well the bee suits we sold were the best choice for the money, but for workability, I found that the head covering or veil hoodie had some issues for me.
Two summers ago I had a bee doctor call that involved three hives, all genetically started from the first initial swarm and they were defensive to say the least. All the hives were quite old, like three to five years old and we really needed to get in the hive and pull out some of the very dark brood comb. This is not a procedure the bees are going to be happy about. After checking out the bees vigilance with motion tests, I decided it would be best to put on a suit. Where is that suit? I dug through my car and pulled out a nearly spotless white bee suit. I think it is paramount that if you are a real beekeeper you've got to have a honey and propolis stained bee suit to be legit. Well, this was just not the case here, “I'll have to look like an amateur” I thought. This bee suit is the exact one that we sell. Here is what I found out.
First, I couldn't see into the dark hive. There was too much contrast from the bright hive exterior and the dark interior of the hive to see the comb clearly. The mesh sewn into the face of the hoodie is too small to see through effectively. Also, because there is no brim on the hood the sun reflects on the shinny black mesh and makes seeing even more difficult. And after a bit in the hot sun, I was sweating profusely and trying to wipe my face through the mesh. This was quite frustrating. I was thinking, “man this is why I don't wear a beekeeper costume !”
Old style veil does not provide enough shade from the sun and mesh is too small to see inside the hive clearly.
The bees were really getting agitated, as we were in the brood area taking out the old black brood comb. Suddenly, my helper yelped and said in surprise, “I just got stung through my veil” I saw the stinger firmly embedded. Oh crap, right in the lip too! He had been shifting his hood around with his free hand to try to see better and accidentally pressed the veil against his face in the process. I guess a bee took advantage of the exposed lip. As his lip began to swell, the lady whose hive we were working on and I started to giggle. Why? I don't know, it was just that my helper’s lip started to look like the lip of a duck. But wait!... ducks don't have lips! That made everything even funnier and by now, my helper was laughing also, so we were all breaking up in laughter right at the crux of our bee mission. Then to add to the chaos, a bee crawled into the little Velcro “sealed” hole in the front of the neck of MY suit. I guess I didn't know you are supposed to push this closed as a last resort. So now, I have a bee in my bonnet, oh my! ...my helper is slowly transforming into a duck and the Lady of the Hives is losing her composure in fits of laughter. Here we were, Bee Doctors to the rescue! Imagine if we both ran away arms flailing!
OK, back to the point. After that experience I decided to look at other options out there for “Bee Wear’. I settled on this old school in bee helmet and veil that was round, because it gave a full field of view rather then the square veil types that have material on both sides of one’s field of vision.
Here is what I found out: better
I have used this helmet and veil for several years and this is my experience:
The mesh is metal and has a big grid that gives you twice the visual clarity than the zip on “bee veil hoodie suit”. You have to be careful not to fold up this veil or let it get squashed, it will permanently bend. There is a helmet, not that you will need one, for most part bees don't sting THAT hard. But the helmet provides a great shading around the face, is good for reflections on the screen and because of the shading and the holes in the helmet top, it provides a much cooler experience. Add to that, the screen mesh goes all the way around the back of your neck ...now isn't that nice? A few spritzes of water on the back of your neck and you’re ready for the next hive. What is also nice, is that if the bees are pretty calm, you can just wear the veil and helmet and the ridged mesh keeps the veil from pressing against your face, so you don't get a lip sting.
The biggest issue is the way the veil attaches to the helmet with these wimpy little hooks that you will literally have to re-attach and reposition the veil every time you take the veil and helmet off.
The way that this veil and helmet are secured is epic and primitive. It comes with a 10 foot long string that inevitably gets tangled around everything within, well 10 feet while you try to get it tied. Then it takes a page of instructions to strap yourself in.
Now here is the big reason
You know how you inevitably shove a piece of dripping honeycomb you want to taste while working your hive into your veil, leaving your open mouth disappointed ...well no more! With this veil and helmet you can sneak the honeycomb morsel in under the veil without having to unzip the hoodie and draw attention from your nest mates. “Hey Bill, what are you doing over there?”
Now, If you own the zip hoodie suit and are begrudging the fact that you can't see anything very well, don't have to get rid of your excellent jacket, just zip off the hoodie! What a tag line, right? Its happening all across the country. You won’t look like a spaceman anymore while working your hive. With the bee helmet and veil you will not only look ‘cooler’, but you will be cooler!