Beekeepers checking hive

Photo provided by James Morton and used under Creative Commons license.

Have you ever wondered why beekeepers wear white or light-coloured clothing? Is it to easily identify when a bee has landed on you? Is it to stay cool? Is easier to find stingers against white? Or perhaps, it’s simply a fashion trend?

The answer is actually quite simple. Bees have evolved to protect themselves from other animals that want their sweet honey. Most of these enemies are very dark in colour: bears, skunks, raccoons, etc. Bees, in turn, have grown to dislike big dark animals approaching their hive. By wearing white, a beekeeper can approach and open the hive without the bees becoming defensive.

Simply put: white clothing makes for a happier hive, which makes for fewer stings and a happier beekeeper!