Suit And Hat Beekeeping Review And More: A Complete Buyer’s Guide

"Got a bee in your bonnet?" This charming little phrase refers to someone who is hopping mad, which is probably what you'll be if you spend a lot of time and money on a bee suit and hat only to discover that it isn't effective.

If you're looking to get into beekeeping as a hobby, you're going to need a quality suit and hat that offer comprehensive protection. If you're already an apiary all-star and have been beekeeping for years, you might be looking to avoid making the same mistakes you made with your first beekeeper suit purchase.

Chances are you're probably going to be ordering online. This creates a whole new set of questions and concerns; at least it did for me. How do I know if the product I'm looking at is actually any good? Will it fit me properly? How's it going to hold up the first time I wear it out? What about after I've had it a few years?

Finding The Suit And Hat That Suit You

It's important to know what to look for when shopping around for a bee suit and hat. Some things you should be looking for aren't obvious to the uninitiated. For starters, you've got to consider the fabric. Most suits are either a blend, or they're made entirely from cotton. The 100% cotton suits will certainly keep things nice and breezy inside, which is a must on hot days.

There are three different shapes of veils to choose from. There's a round veil, a fencing veil, and a square veil. Round veils offer the widest field of view, fencing veils are perfect if you don't want your hair getting in your face, and the square veil is the most practical for when it comes time to store your hat in a carrying bag.

My preference is for the rounded veil, but like many of the features of any suit, it's a matter of personal preference. You'll want to discover what you like and what you don't from trial and error.

Pest M​​​​all Complete Beekeeper Suit

Complete Bee Keeper Suit Helmet Pants Gloves Pest Control bee wasps...
  • Complete Bee Keeper suit For Sale By Pestcontrolpross
  • You Have to email the size of suit you want when you order when you order..
  • Suit will not ship til you send me the size. Large, or Extra Large or XXL

The focus of this review is a nifty suit and hat combination, the Pest Mall Complete Beekeeper suit. It's a good example of a high-quality suit. The hat and veil are a single piece which ensures that the two can't become separated. This means your bonnet remains protected and bee-free.  

For a beekeeper suit and hat, one size does not fit all. I found out that Pest Mall takes this axiom seriously when I tried to order their complete Beekeeper suit. The product will not even ship unless you give specific size instructions, which, at least at first, I considered somewhat a pain. I had to submit my body, including my waistline, to scrutiny. Not so much fun.  

But that was before I considered how powerfully important getting the proper size can be for someone who loves beekeeping but has a risk of serious allergic reaction. Considering that this insistence on getting the right fit might save someone from going into anaphylactic shock from a bee sting put fishing my measuring tape of the closet so I could measure myself into a new perspective.

Obviously, a suit that's too snug isn't what you want, nor one that is loose enough for a stray bee to find its way in. I felt that the bespoke, or rather "beespoke," size options helped me to avoid either extreme and end up with a suit and hat which may not fit as advertised.  

Product Specs  

The Pest Mall Complete Beekeeper comes with the suit and hat and all the components you'd expect. It comes equipped with a lightweight helmet, a pair of gloves, and two side pockets.

The hat is a pith helmet with three squarish window veils. Of all the various shapes of veils, square-shaped veils aren't my favorite. I prefer the rounded veils because it's easier for me to forget I'm wearing it even with the mesh screen. However, the advantage of the side windows on the square veil is that they help with ventilation. A nice cross breeze coming from either side can be welcome on a hot day.  

You want the protection of polyester, but the breathability of cotton and the Pest Mall Complete suit is a blend of both. If you've never worn a beekeeper suit in July, then you may underestimate just how important proper ventilation is to keeping yourself (at least relatively) cool. If you know the feeling of beekeeping on a warm day, you'll be relieved to know this suit doesn't overheat.

When looking over the stitchwork, I was pleased that they had reinforced them with double stitching, so the suit is much less likely to develop small rips or tears in the long period. Since this is an investment that will last for years, quality workmanship should be among your top considerations when shopping.

I was also pleased with having the choice of three different glove sizes. Having varying size options meant that it was easy to find a pair that fits me, well, like a pair of gloves. The perfect fit is essential since bees defending their honey will be especially eager to go after a pair of hands that are reaching inside their hive.

Pricing  

The Pest Mall Complete isn't the cheapest of the beekeeper suits in this review. If price is your chief consideration, then it's understandable that you might go for another model. At least one is roughly 50% cheaper, which means this one is not a contender for the budget conscious.

That said, if you're willing to pay a little more for a quality product, then this is one to keep your eye on. And it's still cheaper than some of its competitors, like the Natural Apiary Max Protect. There's a roughly $20 dollar price difference between both the Pest Mall Complete and the Humble Bee suit. I checked around and found that many of those who bought the Pest Mall Complete were happy with the quality.

How it Compares

Here are a few similar products available that fit into the same category as the Pest Mall Complete Beekeeper suit.  

  • Natural Apiary Max Protect Beekeeping Suit
  • Humble Bee Polycotton Bee Suit with Fencing Veil
  • Eco-keeper Premium Beekeeping Suit
Pest Mall Complete BeeKeeper Suit
Price
$$
Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Design Quality
Warranty
(info not available)

PROS

  • High-quality stitching
  • Durable stitchwork
  • 3 sizes of gloves available

CONS

  • Relatively cost
  • Heavier fabric
  • Fewer pockets
NATURAL APIARY - Max Protect Beekeeping Suit - Camouflage - Clear View...
  • MAX PROTECT Beekeepers Suit for Confidence & Safety
  • STRONG CLEARVIEW NYLON VEIL for Maximum Visibility
  • 100% FINE WEAVE COTTON for Extra Strength & Comfort

Since most of the suit and hat beekeeper outfits we're reviewing here are white with maybe a little beige, the Natural Apiary Max Protect is immediately striking because it's available in camouflage print.

The standard white makes sense, given that the bees are less attracted to it, but I'm surprised that more manufacturers don't take advantage of this opportunity to stand out from the rest, even while the print suggests blending in with the environment. I didn't notice that the bees were particularly interested in the camo; they didn't swarm it.  

The suit is fully machine washable, which is a real advantage if you're spending hours in it regularly. I noticed right away it was in a higher price bracket, but it's got a few features that help to justify the added cost, at least for some consumers. For starters, the warranty allows you to replace the suit for any reason. It's designed to be a cut above in terms of sting protection.  

I noticed that my vision was unobscured thanks to the high-quality made from nylon. The rest of the suit is all cotton, so it's around 2 pounds lighter than the Pest Mall Complete Beekeeper suit. The velcro pockets were also very handy to keep tools and other small objects secure.

The cost of the Natural Apiary Max Protect is the highest of all the products in this review at around $150. Some will feel that the price seems justified because of the high-quality materials used.

Natural Apiary Max Protect Beekeeping Suit
Price
$$$
Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Design Quality
Warranty

PROS

  • Polyester/Cotton blend
  • Machine washable fabric
  • Glove seals are elastic

CONS

  • Less-precise sizes
  • Detachable veil might come undone
  • Big and tall sizes are limited
Sale
Humble Bee 411-L Polycotton Beekeeping Suit with Fencing Veil (Large)
  • Polycotton beekeeper suit with collapsible fencing veil, heavy duty brass zippers, durable double-stitched pockets, and...
  • Medium-weight 50% cotton / 50% synthetic blend (280 gsm) provides outstanding protection against bee stings, plus...
  • Tailored fit with an elastic waist, elastic wrists, and elastic ankles, plus thumb and foot holds to keep everything...

One thing I noticed when I put on the suit and hat was that the size I'd ordered was slightly off. They advertise the suit as unisex and says it fits all sizes, but even though I followed the size guide; I still felt it was a little snug. However, it wasn't so snug as to make me worry about stings, or that the fabric would rip. The waistband was elastic which helped keep it from feeling confining.  

Although the cost is near the higher end, though still slightly lower than the Pest Mall Complete, I liked that 10% of the proceeds from the sale went to charity. The actual beneficiaries of this charitable donation were not mentioned. It apparently benefits "local" beekeepers and supports conservation. How it does this exactly may require a little more sleuthing than I was willing to do.

It surprised me to note that for the price that the set didn't come equipped with a pair of gloves and that I needed to purchase these separately. This was kind of a letdown after getting a pair from the Pest Mall Complete suit and hat set. 

Humble Bee Polycotton Bee Suit with Fencing Veil
Price
$$
Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Design Quality
Warranty
(not available)

Pros

  • Brass zipper
  • Socially-conscious brand
  • Multiple tool pockets

Cons

  • Relatively high cost
  • Size runs smaller than advertised
  • Doesn't come with gloves
Eco-keeper Premium Beekeeping Suit with Bee Veil - (Bee Suit) - Medium
  • BEST BEE KEEPER SUIT ON THE MARKET
  • fits up to height 5'9" -weight 148-170 lbs **
  • Approx. Height - 69", Approx. Chest - 52", Approx. Shoulder - 25"

The first thing that caught my attention about the Eco-Keeper Premium Beekeeper suit was that it was much cheaper than the other beekeeping suits available. It's only about $65, meaning it is less than half of some other suits which appear in this review.

This made me wonder whether the manufacturer had skimped some on quality in order to bring the Eco-Keeper Premium to such a competitive price point. But while the material is lightweight, it still delivers what it promises: it keeps you from getting stung.

The secret is apparently the way the fabric is woven. It's durable and prevents stingers from penetrating the cloth. The rounded veil was right up my alley, but when I looked, I didn't see as many sizes available in stock. The manufacturer also stresses that the sizes are approximate.

It blew me away that such a low-cost option could still deliver a high-level quality, though without some of the bells and whistles of the other beekeeper outfits. You won't find brass zippers or lots of pockets with reinforced stitching, but it's still a solid buy.  

Eco-keeper Premium Beekeeping Suit
Price
$
Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Design Quality
Warranty
(info not available)

PROS

  • Low cost
  • Double cotton
  • Lightweight design

CONS

  • Less size specificity
  • No reinforced stitching 
  • No gloves included

Conclusion

The fact that it's "beespoke," or at least fitted to your exact size needs even if it's not exactly made for you, is definitely the selling point of the Pest Mall Complete Beekeeper Suit. The choice of whether this is the right suit for you will come down to personality and what you value.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Design Quality
Warranty
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