In this posting, I review the Ultra-Breeze Bee suit.
I've been using a standard jacket and veil to protect myself during hive inspections. In general, it has worked well for me, but the jacket can gap in the back, particularly if I bend down to place a hive box on the ground. A few weeks ago, just such a gap occurred and a bee got under the suit and gave me nice sting. At that point, I decided to move from a jacket to a full suit.
In candor, I probably could have gotten a standard bee suit from Brushy Mountain, Mann Lake or other supplier, but I decided to buy a better grade suit from Ultra-Breeze. I had learned about the Ultra-Breeze some time ago from a posting on the Beemaster.com Forum, but was not able to purchase one because they were back ordered. This time I was more fortunate and my new bee suit arrived last week.
The Ultra Breeze suit is quite different than other suits on the market. It offers greater protection from stings and also much better ventilation. These advantages derive from the Ultra-Breeze's unique construction. The suit is made from three layers of fabric. The outer and inner layers are made of a fine fishnet material. Sandwiched between these two layers is a single layer of spongy plastic mesh. This inner layer serves to increases the overall thickness of the bee suit to about 1/4 inch. The thickness of the suit keeps bees well above your skin so there's less chance of a successful sting. However, the suits is made of porous materials so it provides a high degree of ventilation (see detail photo below)
If you are particularly concerned about stings -- perhaps you have lots of hives or have to deal with Africanized bees -- or, if you live in a climate that gets very hot in the summer, the Ultra-Breeze is really worth considering. However, buyers should consider placing their orders well in advance of the season. The Ultra-Breeze appears to be hand-manufactured in Oklahoma by a small family business. They make a limited number of suits and can get back-ordered.
Full Ultra-Breeze suits cost $259 and jackets are $163. You can purchase them directly from the Ultra-Breeze web site.
Phot0: Ultra-Breeze Bee Suit