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Guardian Bee Apparel presents the perfect bee suit

Bee suits can be miserable things to wear, so when Terry Chapman of Guardian Bee Apparel asked me to beta test his newly designed bee suit, I was a bit skeptical. After all, how can you fix such a freakish piece of clothing?

But I have to say, Terry and his team came up with a better bee suit. Not only that, they listened to suggestions from everyday beekeepers like me. I was dumbfounded to learn that Terry actually incorporated some of my design suggestions into the final product. How cool is that?

A ventilated suit with lots of pockets

Before I get to the best features, let me explain the basics. The Guardian Bee Suits are ventilated, made with three layers of mesh so you can stay cool and bee-free during the hottest weather. The hood is built-in and the suit has a wide variety of pockets, including two leg and two sleeve pockets for hive tools, two chest pockets, and two extra-large hip pockets.

The sleeves have elastic bands for your thumbs, and the ankles have both under-arch elastic bands and Velcro closures at the ankles. The neck opening, where all the zippers come together, is covered with a Velco tab for those extra-inquisitive guard bees.

The stitching throughout the suit is tight and straight with no loose threads or loopy skips. It even has a nice sewn-in hanging tab at the back of the neck—one of my special requests. Guardian also makes a jacket version for those quick trips to the apiary.

And now the really cool stuff…

All metal zippers with zee space

All the standard plastic zippers have been replaced by heavy-duty metal YKK zippers that will not jam or pop open. To me, a metal zipper is a sign of quality. There is nothing I hate more than a plastic zipper that parts where you last folded your suit. And the zippers have a wide binding on all sides that keeps them from snagging on the fabric. Terry calls this extra-wide margin “zee space.”

Full-length leg zippers

Not only are the zippers metal, but they are looooooong. The leg zippers start at the ankle and go all the way to your hip. I’ve been using one of the beta suits for several months now, and I can easily slip it on right over my boots.

Front zipper system

The zipper system in the front is ultra convenient. It’s called a system because it is a metal zipper with three sliders. The very first time I wore this suit, I got all dressed, walked out to my shed and remembered my keys were in the pocket of my jeans—under the bee suit. This used to mean opening the suit again. But with the zipper system, I can use the two lower sliders to make an opening anywhere. In this case, I was able to reach inside and get my keys in an instant.

The “Easy Access Veil”

Although the leg and front zippers are the coolest things ever, they don’t hold a candle to the patent-pending Easy Access Veil. The hood has a zipper around your face so, without getting undressed, you can open just the front of the veil. Sliders for the zipper are found on both sides of the hood, so you can make the opening as small or as large as you like and from either the left or the right.

You can have a drink of water, push the hair out of your face, use your inhaler, or have a snack—all without removing your hood. I used to forget my glasses until after I was completely tied into my suit. Aggravated no end, I would then have to undo the neck and hood to put them on. Now, a quick zip and it’s done. And today while doing an inspection, I was able to scoop up a drip of honey and have a taste without removing the veil. Sweet! Once you try the Easy Access Veil, you’ll never want to go back.

Kickstarter campaign for the perfect bee suit

In order to get his venture underway, Terry has opened a Kickstarter campaign where you can learn more about his products and preorder your own Guardian Bee Apparel. I encourage you to have a look. Honestly, of all the suits I’ve tried, this is the only one I want to wear. It eclipses all the others in convenience and durability.

Rusty
Honey Bee Suite

The perfect bee suit has a front three-way zipper.
The front three-way metal zipper allows you to open the suit anywhere without unfastening the neck.
Elastic and velcro at the ankles keep out bees.
The metal leg zippers reach all the way to the hip and are fastened at the ankle with elastic, under-arch bands, and Velcro closures.
The veil can be opened with two zippers.
The veil zips around your face and can be opened from either side, great for a quick sip of water or a snack.
Extra-wide binding around the zipper
The extra-wide binding around the zipper keeps the fabric from getting snagged.

Comments

Barb
Reply

Very interesting. I need to start saving $$$

Avram Grossman
Reply

Hey can you do a simple test for me: Put on the new bee suit, and kneel down and bend forward slightly. Does the bottom of the face screen touch your chin? I get more stings through my suit in the chin area when I bend forward. If this has sufficient clearance, then I’m in.

Rusty
Reply

Avram,

I hope Terry will chime in on this, but I always get stung on the chin as well. Because of that, I’m always concerned about how the veil falls. This particular veil is cut so the weight of it falls forward, away from your face. Since I’ve been wearing it (about three months) I have not had any problem with it laying against my chin and I’ve had no stings. I would like Terry to address your question too because I don’t know if the hood would fit differently on a man.

Terry
Reply

Hey Avram,

This veil was made with a “safety first” approach. The back of the veil has a deeper than normal pocket, and the easy access opening makes the front of the veil longer than normal so there is tons of room. This lets you put your head all the way back into the 3 mesh so that none of your skin is exposed to screen when you are doing inspections. While standing around talking you can tuck the 3 mesh inward and slide the veil backwards for more of a forward facing view, or if you are a safe distance from your bees you can unzip the easy access opening and slide the entire veil around your neck. Please watch the video on the Kickstarter to get a better idea of how the veil sits and the depth. Thank you for the question!

Erik
Reply

Thanks for the post, Rusty! Have you tried the Ultra Breeze suit? Many of the same features (ventilation, zippers, pockets); got one this year and love it. Nice to see companies working to build a better suit.

Rusty
Reply

Erik,

I’ve heard a lot about the Ultra Breeze but never tried it.

Terry
Reply

Hey Erik,

Ultrabreeze is a great brand! Our goal is to put out a “premium quality” product centered around innovation, so we are really proud of our “easy access veil” and “triple zipper system”. We really hope that our advancements are embraced by beekeepers because we have more ideas to bring to market.

Bianca Pratorius
Reply

Perfect for our South Florida heat. Can’t wait to get mine.

Bianca

Terry
Reply

It’s hard to tell from the kickstarter campaign video, but I assume the veil/hood is removable for laundering? I love the idea of 3 metal zippers and zee space!

Terry
Reply

Hello Terry,

Yes the veil is removable for hand washing. The suit or jacket should be washed as a delicate and hung to dry. Thank you for your support!

Debbie Newby
Reply

I am in New Zealand.

On January 1, 2017 a beginning hobbyist beekeeper was stung and died of anaphylactic shock. See
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11785300
She was fully suited up. It is not known how she was stung. My hypothesis, based on my own experience, is that in the course of working her hives, she pressed her face forward against the hood mesh and was stung through it.

This has happened to me. I complained to the vendor that the suit design was faulty because the hood front was too close to the wearer’s face.The answer was that many beekeepers wear tractor caps with big bills to prevent this. I haven’t tried, but I don’t want to wear a hat as well. I mentioned that in the manufacturer’s website the jolly models are not wearing hats. I got nowhere: NZ has an administrative system like workmen’s compensation for personal injuries which ousts litigation.

The bottom line in all of this is that I just signed up for a Guardian suit because I liked the hood design.

Robert Quarterman
Reply

Rusty, My wife and I have ordered two jackets and can’t wait to get them!!! Terry lives about 30 miles from us and he runs a superb bee supply warehouse and is a member of our bee club ECBA (Effingham County Bee Assc.) in S. GA.Your description is right on and it’s great to see a product that is well thought through before it goes on the market. Great job Terry Chapman!

Thanks,
Robert

william burger
Reply

What does it look like on the beekeeper?

A full body view.

What is the cost?

Terry
Reply

Hi William,

Please check out the videos on our Kickstarter campaign to see people wearing with the suits and jackets. Limited discounted prices are available now on Kickstarter starting as low as $119 with US shipping included and will reach full retail at $159.99 for a jacket and $229.99 for a full suit. Our prices include US shipping. Thank you for your interest!

Jerry
Reply

What will be the cost?

Terry
Reply

Limited discounted prices are available now on kickstarter starting as low as $119 (with US shipping included) and will reach full retail at $159.99 for a jacket and $229.99 for a full suit. Our prices include US shipping. Thank you for asking!

Catherine Stobie
Reply

It does sound pretty darn good. I’m one of those beekeepers who is always forgetting something…either something I should have put on before the suit or something I need to take off once the suit is on. I don’t make anything easy for me. Sounds like the suiit could help!

john sanderson
Reply

Hi Rusty, enjoy your posts and this is no exception. My new bee jacket failed me last fall around robbing season. Seems just laying the jacket on the backseat of the car managed to kink the screen of the veil and while contending with an ornery hive, I suddenly noticed 2 bees inside the veil. That was the second time I felt out of control (the first being when I did my first solo inspection of a full colony). Seems that mesh doesn’t like being folded. Thank goodness for duct tape! I now have a hanger for the jacket.

Would appreciate thoughts on what your readers (and you) consider to be the most see-through mesh. I still struggle to see clearly and have 2 veils plus the jacket to compare. Comments!

Debbie Newby
Reply

Avram, I signed up after I watched the video. Even Issur Danielovitch would be OK.

Linda
Reply

I have an ultra breeze suit and love it. I am a beginner and having a suit like this gives me a lot of confidence. The Guardian suit seems to borrow heavily from the Ultra Breeze design which bothers me a bit. When I first saw the post and photos I thought perhaps Ultra Breeze had been bought out by Guardian Apparel. Being able to open the hood without removing it seems like a nice upgrade for those times hair falls in my eyes or my nose itches. Otherwise the suit seems pretty similar to the Ultra Breeze.

Terry
Reply

Hello Linda,

I am sorry you feel that this suit resembles the Ultrabreeze brand. I can assure you that was not the intention. I designed several advancements that I thought completely separated us from every brand on the market. After prototyping and testing the easy access veil, the triple zipper system, the zee space, and more, I implemented the hip zippers, velcro ankle tab, lots of pockets, and others suggestions for all around ease of use and quality. I never looked at any other company for inspiration. I drew from personal experience and the experience of beekeepers that shared their opinions with me to build what we felt was a superior product.

Debbie Newby
Reply

I just came in from checking my hives.

One is Italian, no problem. The other is a Carniolan cross. From Wiki- “extremely gentle in its behavior toward beekeepers.” (I may wrong as to breed, but there aren’t many varieties of honey bees here in New Zealand.)
[deleted] Aggressive, or rather defensive, as the stereotypical mother.

The stupid design of my suit is such that I got bitten above an eyebrow, twice. Previously I got bitten on an eyelid and it swelled shutting my eye for almost a week. I tried wearing a ball cap but I took it off because it wasn’t practical. Maybe the wrong team.

What probably would work in the hood is a football helmet with a big faceguard or an Army helmet.
I wish that I was in a jurisdiction in which I could sue the manufacturer in a class action.

[deleted]

IAN
Reply

I always wear goggles when attending keeps/I find it is a problem where Zips meet under chin / veil forward away from chin

debbie
Reply

Great ! I am game to try this suit ! Now if they would only invent something other than the black mesh, where we could see better, that would be even greater ! A nice magnifying mesh would be the best (haha). Just having the front of the veil fold down is a plus. Now they need to invent gloves that the bees cannot sting through and hold up to numerous washings. They need to produce different colors too. Natural Apiary has a nice camo bee suit. Hate that basic white and so do the bees. If this suit came in camo, it would be almost purrfect !

Rusty
Reply

Debbie,

I don’t think it makes much difference, but the mesh on these suits is brown. It’s different.

I have a Natural Apiary camo suit, too. I really like that the camo doesn’t look so gross after a few uses!

Robert
Reply

Erik,

But the feature I like is not on the ultra breeze suits!!! The easy access veil is a clencher for me! I need to wipe the sweat away often in this 95-100 degree heat in the South!!!!! I love the design of the Guardian suit! Plus the Guardian suits are less expensive! Just saying.

Robert

Debbie Newby
Reply

Has anyone who has been stung through the mesh on a hood of a suit complained to the vendor or manufacturer? With what result? If you haven’t why not?
My story later.

Rusty
Reply

Debbie,

I have certainly been stung through a mesh veil, especially if the mesh touches my face. But bee suits are designed to greatly reduce the incidence of stings, not to eliminate them completely. It would be naive to think that wearing a bee suit will completely eliminate the stings. It won’t.

forAvram Grossman
Reply

I did complain to the manufacturer (Mann-Lake) and they said thank you for letting us know. Rusty is correct in that a bee suit does not completely eliminate bee stings. But there are differences in designs, fitting and various uses or in this case positions. So Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer try on various models and sizes.

Jennifer
Reply

Which option on the kickstarter campaign do I choose to order the top to bottom bee suit described here?

Terry
Reply

Hello Jennifer,

If you get there in time you can purchase a full suit at a discount. The biggest discount with US shipping included is in the $159 full suit category. This category is limited to the first 30 people that choose it. All suits and jackets are the same, they are just offered at different prices to provide early bird discounts for those that support early. Full retail will be $229.

John Mountcastle
Reply

I just took delivery of a premium, ventilated suit, from another manufacturer. Why didn’t you post this last week?

Rusty
Reply

So sorry, John!

Bev
Reply

Hey Terry, how about making a hood that is equipped with a clear plastic window across field-of-vision!! It is so hard to see eggs through the mesh. I cut my hood apart and added a clear window–it works great and i can easily see eggs now. Of course my suit looks horrible!! Haha!

Terry
Reply

Hey Bev,

That may be in our future! We hope to do well enough be able to develop several new products!

Kevin
Reply

Hope the suit comes in 2XL I just funded for one but wasn’t asked a size

Rusty
Reply

Terry? How does the sizing thing work?

Terry
Reply

Hello Kevin,

We go up to 5X! There is a size chart (in inches) on our Facebook and in the gallery on kickstarter. At the end of our campaign you will get a survey asking for your size and shipping address, this is also when your card will be debited.

claire
Reply

Hi Terry,

Will you post the suits to Australia?

Claire in Melbourne, Australia

Terry
Reply

Absolutely Claire, we offer international shipping through our kickstarter campaign.

Rachel
Reply

While I appreciate the thought that went into this product and the efforts in the beekeeping community to improve/innovate, I have to say that from the description and pictures presented here I don’t see any significant difference between this and the Ultrabreeze suit. I have an Ultrabreeze suit and it is amazing. I have not been stung since I have started wearing the Ultrabreeze and it is worth every penny. I would be very interested to see someone compare this and the Ultrabreeze as the features seem almost identical. I’m curious what the mesh is like in this suit compared to the Ultrabreeze and how much protection this suit would give. However, I don’t see anything here that would make me choose this over the Ultrabreeze, especially considering the Ultrabreeze has been around awhile, is tested and proven.

Rusty
Reply

Rachel,

For me the tipping point is the easy-access veil. I also really like the three-way zipper. And you can’t beat the price. Also, having compared them side-by-side, I’d say the Guardian is comparable in fabric, but superior in stitching. If the Ultrabreeze is amazing (and it is) the Guardian is ultra-amazing. I would buy it for the easy-access veil alone.

Terry
Reply

Hey Rachel,

I’m glad you are happy with your current suit, that makes beekeeping more enjoyable! I did want to point out that the 3 mesh material is used as an industry standard and not exclusive to any brand. We have a different neck enclosure from ultrabreeze, and we are the only beekeeping suit to use a triple zipper system, we have a patent pending easy access veil, only brand to use zee space to protect mesh fabric…. I could continue from a design perspective but I just wanted to point out some of the things that completely separate us from any other product on the market. I hope that one day you have the opportunity to do a side by side comparison. Happy beekeeping!

Ken A
Reply

Hi Rusty,

Rushed to the GoFundMe site immediately and snagged me one of the suits on special for $195 + $25 for the Canadian order. Expecting delivery in July just in time for the hot weather, my present suit has all the drawbacks specially when the sweat is running down my face and you can’t mop your brow without backing out to a safe space. On another topic I got my Aussie FlowHive put together and installed on a mature hive with two deep and one standard box for the brood, haven’t peeked in yet to see what is happening, I’m picking up a new nuc this afternoon so will be suiting up to transfer them, will take a peek through the observation door then. Keep you posted, really excited to see how this FlowHive pans out. Still love your website, after I finish this note I’ll make a donation, poor Renaldo’s story had me in fits, naughty to laugh at someone’s misfortune but couldn’t help myself.

Ken (Ontario, Canada)

Rusty
Reply

Ken,

Thank you for the donation! Please let me know how you like the Flow hive. I’ve become “curiouser and curiouser” about them recently, so I would love a non-censored opinion.

Originally, Renaldo told me his story in an email. I was in stitches, so I wrote back and asked if I could post it. Then last night, I heard my husband laughing from the other end of the house. When I went to see what was so funny, I found him reading Renaldo’s story.

I’m glad you bought a Guardian Bee Suit; I’m sure you will like it.

Terry
Reply

Thank you Ken! I cant wait to get your suit off to you!

MarianA
Reply

From the video and pictures, it appears the vented “fabric” is used on the back of the head. (Please verify.) That would be a MAJOR selling point for me. I have a ventilated suit, and the hat is not satisfactory. I have to wear something on my head to add thickness so I don’t get stung on the forehead. (We won’t mention the bald husband, who has to wear a knit watchcap regardless of the weather.) And probably 50% of the time whatever I use slips off and just sits there. I see the easy access being a godsend for a number of reasons.

Also, thanks for the pocket closures. Nothing more fun than watching your little camera bounce away when you bend over. Or having to go digging up to your elbows in that deep pocket.
Looks like a great product.

Rusty
Reply

Marian,

The back of the hood is the triple-layer mesh. The front and the area around the face between the support hoops is the dark-colored single mesh. However, the cut of this hood is such that it doesn’t lay against your face. Not sure if I’m actually answering your question. Terry might have more to say.

Terry
Reply

Rusty is spot on, your head sits back into the 3 mesh pocket at the back of the veil and you look through the screen one the front of the veil. We designed the pocket deep enough for the back and sides of your head to be covered in 3 mesh.
Thank you for asking, great question.

MarianA
Reply

Great. Having the hat not touching the forehead and not glomming to my head when I sweat would make wearing a suit much more comfortable. Regular cotton hats don’t really do well when wet, (Had 30 stingers across my forehead once, with 4 popping through. I’d have really liked this veil at that time.)
Thanks for the answer.

Jlm
Reply

Will you have tall sizes? A little difficult to find clothes that fit properly when you’re 6’10”

Terry
Reply

Hey Jim,

I would encourage you to watch 628dirtroosters last youtube video. He had one of our 5X suits on there and I think it may fit you!

Jim
Reply

The link you put up did not work. In most cases fat does not mean tall. Usually what happens is shoulders are in the wrong place. A lot of the times. The torso will be too short. Between the shoulders and the crotch. I realize this is just my personal experience.

Jim

Evelyn
Reply

Have you done anything to make the face shield easier to see through in low light?

Terry
Reply

Evelyn,
We have not addressed that specifically. We do plan to look at other materials, colors, and mesh sizes in the future.

Debbie Newby
Reply

MarianA

What do you mean by “Had 30 stingers across my forehead once, with 4 popping through.”

How many times were you stung?

Todd prince
Reply

I’m interested in your bee coat what’s the largest size that you carry?

Rusty
Reply

I believe it’s up to 5XL.

Terry
Reply

5X is correct.

Todd prince
Reply

I’m interested in your bee coat, what’s the largest size that you carry?

Zoe
Reply

Love this blog and have learned a lot as a beginner from u Rusty…thanks
Very interested in the Guardian Bee Apparel suit.
What weight is a medium suit?
What are postage costs to Ireland?

Rusty
Reply

Zoe,

There is contact information on their website.

Rusty
Reply

Zoe,

Okay. I will look into it.

Terry
Reply

I am very sorry for the delay in responding, things have been CRAZY! You can contact me at guardianbeeapparel@gmail.com while our workspace email is being corrected. Our suits range from 3 to 5lbs.

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