The 5 Best Beekeeping Suits of 2023

Suitable for apiarists from amateur to expert

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The Spruce Pets / Lecia Landis

Beekeeping suits are outfits worn when working with insects such as bees to protect you from their stings.

“The suit makes sure bees don’t get in your face or hair or in places such as under your arms and behind knees, where you may accidentally squeeze them and cause them to sting you,” says Kim Flottum, author of Backyard Beekeeping and Common Sense Natural Beekeeping, and host of the podcasts and “You should always wear a beekeeping suit with full protection if you’re a novice and if you’re doing a task such as unloading multiple hives off a truck with many bees in the air.”

 We found the best beekeeping outfits with the help of criteria provided by Flottum, a lifelong beekeeper, as well as extensive comparisons based on sturdiness, washability, and comfort. Our favorite is the B.J. Sheriff Apiarist Full Suit with Integral Hood for its time-tested design, originally developed in 1968, and durability.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

B.J. Sherriff Apiarist Full Suit with Integral Hood

B.J. Sherriff Apiarist Full Suit with Integral Hood

Better Bee

What We Like
  • Company has a longstanding reputation for product excellence

  • Polycotton fabric won’t shrink

  • Double-stitched seams

  • Customized sizes available if you’re hard-to-fit

What We Don't Like
  • Limited availability

  • Upcharge for larger sizes

  • Does not come with ankle spats

B. J. Sherriff is a well-respected purveyor of beekeeping clothing and accessories. Started in the UK in 1968, the company founder created this full suit design that has an integrated hood (also called a “fencing veil”), which can be unzipped and thrown back to rest on the shoulders when not needed. It’s a style that’s still in use and copied by many other manufacturers today.

For total protection, this suit is unmatched for performance and durability. It’s estimated to have a 15-year lifespan, so you won’t need to replace it after a few seasons. The collar, front and ankles have heavy-duty zippers, with elastic at the waist and ankles for a better fit. A thumb loop keeps the cuff in position. The nylon mesh is Sherriff’s proprietary ClearView, which allows you to see through clearly unlike less expensive veils that are made from mesh that has square holes which can obscure your view. The veil is detachable.

Price at time of publish: $229

Material: Cotton-poly blend | Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL (custom sizes also available) | Color: White (custom colors also available) | Included accessories: Fencing veil

Best Budget

Humble Bee Polycotton Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil

 Humble Bee Polycotton Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil

Humble Bee 

What We Like
  • Reasonably-priced for a full suit

  • Flaps over zippers for protection against bees trying to crawl into the suit

  • Machine washable

What We Don't Like
  • Some wearers say the veil is not durable and tears easily

  • Fabric not as breathable in the heat as ventilated suits

If you’re looking for a full suit, this one offers good protection at a wallet-friendly price. It’s made from medium-weight 50 percent cotton, 50 percent poly, which provides protection without a lot of weight. There’s also elastic at the waist, wrists, and ankles to make it fit more tailored, as well as a thumb and foot hold. The heavy brass zippers have large ring tabs that are easy to grab, even when wearing gloves.

We also like that it’s machine washable because you’ll need to clean your beekeeping suit periodically. The company donates 10 percent of their net profits to non-profit organizations that support and promote beekeeping and bee conservation efforts.

Price at time of publish: $129

Material: 50/50 cotton and poly | Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL | Color: White | Included accessories: Round veil

Best Aerated Suit

Humble Bee Aero Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil

Humble Bee Aero Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil


What We Like
  • Aerated fabric for hot weather

  • Round veil keeps bees far away from your face

  • Removable veil if you want to substitute a different type

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot be machine washed

  • Only available in one color

It gets uncomfortably hot in a hurry inside beekeeping suits, but this one is designed for warm weather with two layers of a synthetic mesh fabric that contains a lightweight foam insert between layers to keep stingers away from your skin. The round veil, also called a round hood, is self-supporting and keeps the veil far away from your face for enhanced protection against stings. The veil is removable.

Brass zippers, double-stitched pockets, and thumb and foot holds help keep the suit in place. There’s a carrying tote included for you to stash the suit when you’re done working. The company includes a two-year warranty and also donates 10 percent of their net profits to non-profit organizations that support and promote beekeeping and bee conservation efforts.

Price at time of publish: $229

Material: Cotton-poly blend | Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL | Color: Field tan | Included accessories: Round veil

Best Jacket

Humble Bee Ventilated Beekeeping Jacket with Round Veil

Humble Bee 330 Ventilated Beekeeping Jacket with Round Veil, S, Crystal White


What We Like
  • More comfortable in the heat

  • Wide range of sizes

  • Good quality zippers that glide well

What We Don't Like
  • Veil diameter feels too small for some wearers

  • Some wearers say veil is easy to tear

If you’re an experienced beekeeper, you may choose not to wear a full suit, especially in the heat of summer or for simple tasks such as checking on a queen. A jacket may be a more comfortable option. This one is constructed of 50 percent cotton and 50 percent poly with ventilation panels made of two layers of mesh with a foam insert in between, which allows for better breathability on hot days.

The self-supporting hood keeps the veil away from your face for sting protection, while it also features 360 degree mesh for viewing all the way around. Brass zippers with large ring tabs for easy pulling even with gloves on. An elastic waist improves the overall fit. A carrying tote is included.

Price at time of publish: $129

Material: Cotton-poly blend | Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL to 6XL | Color: White | Included accessories: Round veil

Best Cotton

Flow Bee Organic Cotton Suit

Flow Bee Organic Cotton Suit


What We Like
  • 100 percent GOTS certified cotton

  • Machine washable

  • Comes with gloves and J-hive tool

What We Don't Like
  • Some wearers report needing to a cap underneath to keep the veil from touching the face

  • Not breathable enough in hot climates

This suit features 100 percent unbleached, organic cotton with a soft, comfortable texture. The fencing-style veil can be removed. Bonus: The suit comes with ventilated goatskin gloves with gauntlets that reach to most people’s elbows and a J-hive tool made with German stainless steel.

The GOTS certified cotton means it’s been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and woven without toxic chemicals, which is important to many beekeepers. The company also is a Certified B Corporation and supports several nonprofit conservation organizations such as Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Price at time of publish: $120

Material: 100 percent cotton | Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL to 5 XL | Color: White | Included accessories: Goatskin gloves and J-hive tool

Final Verdict

Our top pick is BJ Sherriff Apiarist Full Suit with Integral Hood for its quality, durability and long history of product excellence in design. But for hot climates, consider Humble Bee Aero Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil for its breathable, aerated mesh fabric.

What to Look for in Beekeeping Suits

Light-colored material

Lighter-colored materials, such as white or khaki, are best because they’re non-threatening to bees, says Flottum. That’s because these colors don’t mimic the dark colors of their natural predators, such as bears and raccoons.

Smooth material

Material that has a smooth texture is preferred because anything with a rough or fuzzy texture also mimics the coats of the bees’ natural predators, says Flottum.

Breathable fabric

A beekeeping suit covers you head to foot, so it can become quite uncomfortable in some conditions. “In the heat of summer, it gets hot fast in a beekeeping suit,” says Flottum. “You need something you can wear during summer days when you need to be working with the bees.”

Good fit

A beekeeping suit that doesn’t fit properly will not do its job to protect you. The veil or face covering should be held away from your face so that the bees cannot penetrate the mesh to sting you. The rest of the outfit should be loose for the same reason, says Flottum. But you also should be able to move freely so that your movements aren’t awkward or you don’t trip over excess material.

  • What should I do if I get stung by a bee?

    According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the first thing to do is use something stiff, like a fingernail or credit card, to scrape away the stinger and venom sac. If possible, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain. A topical steroid ointment or oral antihistamine can relieve itching.

     If you have a severe reaction, such as swelling in the throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, stomach cramps, nausea, or dizziness, you need to be seen immediately for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, which can be fatal.

     However, for many people, a sting is just temporarily painful. And it’s likely when working with bees that, sooner or later, you will be stung. “By the end of the summer, you may have been stung a few times, no matter how careful you are,” says Flottum.

    If you’re just beginning beekeeping, consult an allergist about any potential allergies you may have to bees, suggests Flottum. It's also worth asking your doctor about keeping an epinephrine injector—such as EpiPen—on hand to treat allergic reactions to stings.

  • How do beekeeper suits work?

    Beekeeper suits fit from head to ankle to protect you from stings by covering all surfaces with fabric or mesh. “The suits are loose and baggy because a bee can sting through the material if it’s stretched taut against your skin,” says Flottum. A mesh veil over the face and head, either on a zip-off hood attached to the outfit, or worn draped over a helmet and secured with fastenings, keeps bees away from your face, neck and throat.

  • How should beekeeper suits fit?

    No matter what type of suit you choose, proper fit is imperative because anything too tight allows you to be stung, while anything too loose makes it difficult to move around safely without tripping.

    “Purchase the best quality suit you can afford with a loose fit overall but that’s snug at the cuffs and ankles,” says Flottum. Boots, gloves and spats, which are worn around the ankles to prevent bees from crawling up your suit, provide additional protection. If possible, talk to local beekeeping clubs to see if you can try or borrow a suit first to see if you feel comfortable in it.

  • How do you wash a beekeeper suit?

    You’ll need to wash your suit a few times a season to remove propolis, honey, and any dark, dirty spots, which appear threatening to bees, causing them to sting that area, says Flottum.

    Read the care instructions on your specific suit for guidance, but typically, beekeeping suits are made from cotton cloth or a cotton-poly blend and usually can be machine washed (separate from your other clothes) and tumble dried on low or hung to dry. The mesh-type suits can only be hosed off. Remove the veil and handwash separately, then air dry.

  • Can I still get stung in a beekeeper suit?

    While no beekeeping suit is totally sting-proof, this protective gear does lessen the occurrence of stings. But, yes, you absolutely can if it doesn’t fit properly, it isn’t cinched at the wrists or ankles, or if you wear a suit that fits tightly against you anywhere so that the bee’s stinger can penetrate through the fabric and into your skin, says Flottum. Also, make sure your hood and veil, if they’re detachable, are properly secured to the suit when wearing.

  • Do beekeeper suits work for wasps?

    If worn correctly with the proper, loose and baggy fit, beekeeper suits also protect you against wasps, says Flottum. Make sure to wear a full cover suit and gloves for wasps.

Why Trust The Spruce Pets

Writer Arricca SanSone researched the market based on reviews, company reputation, and criteria from Kim Flottum, a lifelong beekeeper who has written several noted books on beekeeping including Backyard Beekeeping and Common Sense Natural Beekeeping. He also hosts two podcasts about bees, and