9 Tips For Beekeepers To Stay Cool During Hot Summer Days

How Beekeepers Can Stay Cool In Summer

Beekeeping in hot weather can be detrimental to both your health and productivity. It’s crucial to stay cool and maintain a comfortable working environment.

Here are nine practical tips for beekeepers to stay cool during hot summer days.

1. Choose the right beekeeping gear

The key to comfort is wearing the right gear. Opt for lighter-colored, ventilated beekeeping suits. An English-style (fencer’s) veil should keep you cooler than traditional hat and veil combos.

Suits made with layers of mesh and vented panels provide better breathability. To protect your hands on heatwaves, nitrile gloves are generally better than leather ones with elbow-length canvas sleeves. Remember, you’ll sacrifice some protection, so consider your experience level and the nature of the bees you’re working with.

Always keep your gear clean – dirty, sweat-stiffened clothing tends to trap more heat.

2. Protect yourself from the sun

Don’t underestimate the power of sunscreen. Apply it to exposed areas like your face, neck, ears, arms, and hands, reapplying every two hours.

  • Complement sun protection with a wide-brimmed beekeeping hat to keep the sun off your face.
  • Tie a wet bandana or cooling scarf around your neck for an additional cooling effect.

Interesting reading:

  1. Beekeepers that live in climates that experience hot summers should also read our tips on keeping hives cool during summer.
  2. If you’re in a fire-prone area, learn how to safely keep bees during fire season.

3. Stay hydrated

In hot weather, hydration is your best friend. Keep a good-sized water bottle handy and drink regularly rather than waiting until thirsty.

Foods and beverages with high water content will also help keep you hydrated. You can freeze foods like watermelon for an icy, chilled snack that helps moderate body temperature.

4. Invest in cooling accessories

Beekeepers can take advantage of various accessories to keep their temperature down. Cooling vests, neck wraps, or wristbands all work well. Take time to research the best options that suit your preferences and budget.

We also received this tip on our Facebook page which won’t cost anything:

Take a baseball hat and soak it in water then wear it under the beekeeping suit. It will keep you cool for at least an hour working under the sun.

Abraham from Facebook

This tip is excellent advice. Not only does it keep you cool, but the hat keeps the veil away from your face. Not essential for every beekeeping suit, but some touch your face, increasing the chances of stings to the face.

5. Plan a sensible beekeeping schedule

Schedule all beekeeping inspections and other tasks during the cooler parts of the day – early morning or late evening. Avoiding midday sun benefits beekeepers and bees.

6. Utilize shade and wind

Work in shaded areas whenever possible. If you’re exposed, consider moving the hives to a partial shade location next season. If the heat is fierce, temporary shade like a large umbrella may be worth the effort to set up.

7. Take regular breaks

After taking all the precautions, working in sweltering temperatures is still taxing. Make sure to take regular breaks in a cool area. This downtime gives your body a chance to recover and helps prevent heatstroke.

8. Monitor your health

Heat stress or heat stroke can happen quicker than you might think. Be aware of the signs and keep sports drinks handy to help replenish salt and water.

Important: Check with your doctor about salt-replacing beverages if you’re on a salt-reducing diet. If you start showing symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.

9. Bring a helper

Often during the hottest days of summer, beekeepers harvest honey. This job requires lifting heavy supers that are weighed down with honey.

Having a helper can reduce your workload and the risk of overheating. If friends or family don’t have time to help, platforms like Airtasker make it easy to get help for as long as you need.

Is it safe to inspect hives during extremely hot weather?

It’s generally safer and less stressful for the bees if hive inspections occur during cooler parts of the day. If honey harvesting can’t wait, do it quickly and carefully to minimize stress on the bees.

Can the hot weather influence the behavior of bees?

During the hot part of summer, bees face food shortages and robbing, which may increase their levels of aggression.

Final words

These tips should help make your beekeeping tasks more comfortable during hot weather. Always remember: your health and safety are as important as the wellbeing of your bees.

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