While knowledge of the bees is the first line of defense, most beekeepers also wear some
protective clothing. Novice beekeepers usually wear gloves and a hooded suit or hat and
veil. Experienced beekeepers sometimes elect not to use gloves because they inhibit
delicate manipulations. The face and neck are the most important areas to protect, so
most beekeepers will at least wear a veil.
Defensive bees are attracted to the pheromones of a person and breath, and a sting on
the face can lead to much more pain and swelling than a sting elsewhere, while a sting
on a bare hand can usually be quickly removed by fingernail scrape to reduce the amount
of venom injected.
The protective clothing is generally light coloured (but not colourful) and of a smooth
material. This provides the maximum differentiation from the colony's natural predators
(bears, skunks, etc.) which tend to be dark-colored and furry.