I think this will be a short series, but educational and bringing joy to, well, me.
I love my bee hat from Simon the Beekeeper – we bought this pack of five in order to have some spare for visitors (nobody ever visits us, but we live in hope). Now at this price I do worry a bit where they’re made and who by but we weren’t really in a position to splash out at the time and weren’t sure how much use we’ll get out of them. I tried one of these hats at a beekeeping course to observe a very brief top bar hive inspection from a distance. It would hardly have been worth putting my whole suit on, but at the same time I didn’t fancy a bee up my nose like someone else on the course. So I came home and ordered one.
They are a bit rubbish in the wind, as they’ve got no elastic or tie around the head, and have a very shallow crown so they just sit loosely on top. This means any gust will lift them and give you a light but not particularly dangerous garrotting. But as I have long hair, and I am paranoid about bees in it (or indeed up my nose or in my eyes or arrrrgh not the throat noooo help! I have an overactive imagination at times) this is brilliant for quick checks and allows you to get close to the hive without having to worry too much. Just hold on to it in windy weather or if you want to bend over to look under the hive (which you will do when your bees keep trying to swarm). For the price, I can’t complain, and I’ve worn the same one pretty much daily all summer, with my lovely assistant also using it to top up the feeders, and it’s still in decent shape.
Anyway the unusual use, probably obvious. The hat is always kept handy (because at any given moment over we will either want a peaceful moment watching the bees or a panicked moment wondering what the hell they’re up to now). Today, windows open on a sunny October day – hello, tortoiseshell butterfly. Big or small, you shouldn’t really be fluttering around my bookcases and ceiling. You’re looking a bit panicked and I don’t want to hurt you. Using my hands is asking for trouble….what I need is some kind of net. Aha. Take hat, open drawstring, place over butterfly resting place, wait for butterfly to panic again, gently draw drawstring, allow hat to dangle from drawstring making perfect roomy butterfly cage, take outside somewhere sunny, take photo so can go on about it a bit on blog and pretend to be good human even while wondering if tortoiseshell wants to hibernate in house and I have just doomed it, hope not, open drawstring, wait, wave butterfly on way.
Apart from possibly rigging up some kind of hatstand cake protector next summer that might be it for this short series of useful things you can do with a bee hat.