How good the honey!
There are those who love it for its sugary taste. Some for its purifying and beneficial properties. Some for the energizing ones. In short, there are many reasons to appreciate it. And even today they are the same ones who made this food appreciated by the populations of centuries and centuries ago.
Honey, in fact, is a very ancient food, which has its roots in the first societies of history. We can even find it in Ancient Egypt, in depictions inside the tombs of the Pharaohs. Along the banks of the Nile they had already understood the importance of this sweet food, so much so that they developed sophisticated methods of growing and harvesting it.
Among the different uses we find embalming and food preservation. In addition, of course, to the more natural sweetening function. In addition, both Greeks and Romans used honey as a natural remedy for many ailments, including those related to the respiratory system.
Therefore, the antioxidant and antibacterial properties were already known. Often used in religious ceremonies, it was also considered an aphrodisiac in some cultures. In short, a food capable of taking on different roles within a structured society.
The birth of beekeeping
As we have seen, the first historical finds in which we see the presence of honey date back to Ancient Egypt. Even then, they had experimented and devised different methods to produce it through bee breeding. We have gone from cylindrical containers of clay and mud to hollowed out and mobile logs, positioned near cultivation areas.
The ancients were already clear about the importance that these small insects still have in the life cycle of a fruit plant. That is why, in addition to the production of honey, they also exploited bees for the pollination of their crops along the Nile valley.
We are therefore witnessing the birth of the first beekeepers. Which in a much more remote past than we could ever imagine, gave way to a job that still gives us one of the richest and most natural foods that we can find on the shelves of our supermarkets.
The evolution of the profession
Obviously, technology has progressed over the centuries. And the methods used in the most ancient civilizations that developed in the cradle of the Mediterranean have been outclassed by much more modern and avant-garde solutions.
We go from a growth in the Middle Ages, thanks to the monastic communities that developed in those centuries, from Renaissance innovations, which improved what had been done in previous centuries, up to the mid-nineteenth century, when there was a significant development in the sector. In those years, the Langstroth hive was invented, a tool that gave way to modern beekeeping, as we know it today.
The tools to protect workers have also undergone a significant evolution. If in the beginning the protections were really minimal, often not even able to stop the sting of a single bee, nowadays we have a lot of protective clothing available. But let’s see the shoes first!
As with so many other jobs, the axiom “Safety first” applies. Although bees are very precious animals at the moment, to be taken into great consideration and care, we must not forget that we are talking about potentially lethal insects. That’s why working closely with them means above all taking shelter from their stingers.
Obviously, we could not miss this “accessory” of fundamental importance to which we have decided to dedicate an entire paragraph. Even to pursue a career as a beekeeper and spend your days among the hives, you need to have the right shoes.
There are professionals who are satisfied with simple outdoor shoes, which are comfortable and have a good grip on the ground, but in our opinion it is very important to consider, just like for the garments described above, a model of shoe or boot designed specifically for beekeepers.
This is because, as we have seen, bees always try to attack those who disturb them. They attempt to squeeze through the folds of the fabric to sting what they see as a potential threat.
Fortunately, there are overalls and pants for beekeepers on the market that integrate a mesh for the protection of the foot, in case the boot does not fit perfectly on the ankle and leg. But this does not mean that extra attention and investment in one’s health is not discouraged.
There are both PVC boots, with a classic yellow design that is very reminiscent of rainproof galoshes, and boots not unlike trekking models but designed for the comfort and safety of the worker.
The peculiarity of safety footwear for beekeepers lies in the metal tip placed to protect the fingers in case of accidental impacts and prevents the penetration of sharp foreign bodies.
In addition, a beekeeper often comes into contact with gases and poisons used to stun insects and then proceed with treatment operations or through the sting of bees. A shoe that insulates the foot is crucial for long-term health. Let’s now discover together the other specific garments for this profession!
Protections for beekeepers
A beekeeper therefore has clothing and accessories to wear according to the different phases of his work and to the more or less close contact with the bees. Let’s see them together.
- Mask or Hat
This is one of the most important tools, which is also recommended for those who approach beekeeping in an amateur way. The headgear, be it a hat or a mask, is equipped with a protective net that prevents bees from getting close to your face. It must also provide total isolation of the suit that we will see later, not letting insects enter it through the collar. The beekeeper’s hat or mask can be worn even in the absence of the suit during low-risk operations;
- Full-face suit
Unlike the combined solutions that we will see later, consisting of a jacket and trousers, the full-body suit includes one and only one piece to be worn entirely. Jointless, in fact, it offers no room for insects to slip into clothes. Strongly recommended, especially in models that also integrate the upper part of the hat or mask, during all those operations that involve direct contact with bees. There are also ventilated models, which, while guaranteeing better breathability, do not diminish their protective function;
This is a less expensive and more comfortable alternative to the full-body suit because it leaves more room to maneuver and has more breathability. Lightweight and breathable, it is also the best protection against gases and vapours. The garment is equipped with large pockets along the entire torso and arms and a square protective mask, with metal mesh, which ensures all-round vision.
The mask is removable, but with practical and secure joints, which prevent the infiltration of insects. Not dissimilar is the function of elastic bands at the waist and on the wrists. However, since it is only a protective garment for the upper body, the jacket should be worn in combination with technical trousers specifically designed for beekeepers, or even simple jeans with thick and resistant fabric;
We have seen, this garment can be replaced by normal jeans, but we recommend using them for greater protection. It must be combined with a protective jacket and similarly to it, technical trousers are equipped with elastic insulation near the ankles. Some models, for greater safety, have a mesh protection that covers the foot, should bees creep into the boots;
Last, but not least, because this accessory is never included in any other garment. There are several models on the market, but we recommend the use of technical products with fabric made specifically to block bites.
Bees are magnificent animals and taking care of them is a job that involves several problems but also infinite gratifications. But for us at Shoestechnologies it is important that it is carried out in total safety, both for insects and for beekeepers. And we will always be ready to advise you on the best shoes or the necessary features that they must have.
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