BeeGuardian® Veil

 Update: January, 2024 - Contact Us to be put on the list for the next batch of BeeGuardian Veils. The Veils with Helmet are $159.

"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) !

* Veil with Helmet- The BeeGuardian® Veil secured to a premium quality, sturdy pith helmet. This Durable jute helmet has an adjustable inner headband that fits most head sizes.

* Veil Only - The BeeGuardian® Veil fits most beekeeper pith helmets

* The veil clips onto your beekeeping jacket or suit with adjustable straps so that the veil and helmet can be conveniently flipped back like a hood. Now that's progress!

* The veil's light breathable mesh is secured front and back with durable alligator clips and detachable lobster claw hooks.

* The veil has a scratch resistant clear vinyl for the clearest, through-the-veil view you can get on the planet !

For the minimalist beekeeper

Like any traditional beekeeping veil, the BeeGuardian® Veil does not provide full-time, full-seal coverage like a zip-on 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.

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.

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! 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 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 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.

patty cake, patty cake, bakers man, bake a cake as fast as you can...

“Hold the bottom of the veil with both hands, swinging the veil and helmet over your head. The 2 strings at the back of the veil should be hanging down your back. Reach with both hands behind your back grabbing a string in each hand.  Pull down on the two strings behind your back so that the veil  goes over the collar of your bee jacket, then pull the strings underneath each arm and thread both strings together through the veil’s plastic loop which will be in the front, resting on your chest. With the strings now through the loop, pull down on them until the veil extends over the front of your bee jacket. Pull the strings down and around your back, crossing the strings behind your back, then finally bring the strings forward under each arm again to your front body and tie the strings in a nice little bow... blah blah blah !”

Then you will inevitably have forgotten something back in the house and have to unwind yourself in the hot sun.

Now Here is the Big Reason

If you own the zip hoodie suit and are begrudging the fact that you can't see anything very
well, you don't have to get rid of your excellent jacket, just zip off the hoodie! What a tag line, right? It's happening all across the country.
You won’t look like a spaceman anymore while working your hive. With a bee helmet and veil you will not only look ‘cooler’, but you will be cooler!

Now for the Awesome!

The first reason that this veil is Awesome is because I designed it! Really, all joking aside, I have felt compelled to create a new veil for many years after seeing my students struggle to learn because they just can't see through the screen mesh of the currently available veils. My students were not seeing the small important details of the bees' tiny world. I would observe them struggling to see into the hive, struggling to see tiny eggs in the brood nest, struggling to put the veil on. And with no fault of their own clumsily carrying around the veil and helmet dangling by long strings dragging it through the grass as we went from hive to hive. Also, for myself and my research partners, we found it difficult spending many hours with our protective equipment on doing research and were we not only burdened with the inability to see clearly, we were encumbered with poor ventilation in the hot sun. Add to that we would be constantly putting on and taking off the old school veils and then after removing the veils we would visually see screen meshes for hours afterwards.

These photos were taken through the Bee Guardian® Veil and a typical mesh screened veil comparing the visual detail of each.

Most of the world of innovation in other science fields or hobbies have technology that has evolved, not so with bee gear, the available bee veils are ancient technology. So I set out to solve the very apparent failures of this old veil technology. The first design criteria is visual clarity, not just good, but complete visual clarity, like looking through the window of one of our Topbar or Cathedral Hives®. The second design criteria was to solve the way the veil is secured. Putting on and taking off a veil shouldn't be a project. The BeeGuardian® Veil solves donning the veil and putting it in standby in several unique ways. Four alligator clips are fixed to the jacket in an initial set up and stay on the jacket. When the veil is adjusted to the wearer, then the veil has only to be un-clipped in the front of the jacket and can then be set back over the shoulders like a cowboy hat. This allows the beekeeper to go fetch extra tools, extra bars or frames or go back for scientific equipment they forgot in the truck without un-assembling the veil and helmet each time.

The veil secures nicely to the helmet and both can remain on the bee jacket so you're ready to go anytime. The BeeGuardian® Veil has a very light and open screen mesh for superior ventilation around the neck and shoulders.

Best of all the BeeGuardian® Veil is modern, looks sporty and functions in field research without the hindrances of the wire mesh veils of old.