Head protectors for beekeepers
Isiaka A Salawu, Federal Government Girls’ College, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria
Making your own protective head gear saves the cost of buying pre-fabricated ones and any repairs are easy because most of the materials are locally sourced. Head protectors can be mass-produced and sold to other interested beekeepers.
Head-sized plastic bowl or calabash gourd
Flat, circular plastic tray (40 cm in diameter)
2.5 cm thick foam sheet
White cotton or nylon net
White cotton cloth
Awl or nail and hammer or soldering iron or drill (for making holes in the plastic bowl and tray)
0 .2 cm thick twine
1. Place the bowl at the centre of the circular tray.
2. Using the marker, mark out the edge of the bowl on the tray.
3. Remove the bowl from the tray.
4. Leave an allowance of 1-2 cm inward (away from the mark on the tray) and cut out the inner circle. This will enable the head to pass through.
5. Replace the bowl and carefully perforate the rim and the point of contact with the tray.
6. Stitch the bowl and the tray together.
7. Line the inner side of the bowl with the foam sheet.
8. Make an open-ended sack at least 60 cm long with the net. The diameter must be wider than that of the tray to give comfort at the shoulder region.
9. Sew a flap of white cotton cloth round the two ends of the sack: the upper end carries the twine for tying the sack around the helmet at the junction between the tray and the bowl as shown above. The lower end stops the net from splitting and guarantees long lasting use.
10. Slide the upper end of the sack over and above the tray.
11. Squeeze the upper end around the junction between the tray and the bowl.
12. Tighten using the twine.
• Spray the front part of the net with black paint to enhance visibility.
• It is better to use white materials as the bees are calmer and less defensive than with other colours.
• A calabash gourd can be carved to shape and used in place of the plastic bowl and tray.
How to wear the head protector
1. Slide the head in through the lower open end of the sack.
2. Position the helmet so that the front black part of the net is directly in front of your face.
3. Tuck the loose lower end of the sack into the collar of your protective suit.
4. Close/Button up the neck region firmly on the net sack to prevent bees from entering.
5. Pull out some portion of the sack to make a loose fold around the neck and shoulders. This guarantees some safe distance to keep away the bees.