Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Beekeeper’s Hood (Part 1): History

This is the first part in a series of short articles on the beekeeper’s hood. The first two parts will be the history. The last parts will be my experience making one.

Beekeeper's Hood I Made

It was said, in Ancient Greece, that the bees asked Zeus for stingers to kill man because they stole their honey. To punish the bees for being so malicious, Zeus decreed that the bees would themselves die from stinging man. For centuries, man has been hunting bees and honey or keeping bees (Crane 1999, 35). Since then, man has needed protection from stings.

Before protective clothing, humans had to rely on other methods of protecting themselves from bee stings. These methods included moving slowly and deliberately, pulling the hair over the eyes, mouth and nose, not going into a hive during thunderous weather, and not going into a hive just after the honey flow (Crane 1999, 333).

Honey flow is a time when nectar is plentiful and bees produce and store lots of honey. This made things difficult for the medieval beekeeper. The most honey would be gathered after the honey flow, when the bees were the most protective of it. Beekeepers thus needed something to protect themselves with. 

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