In 2014, there were an estimated 2.7 million honeybee colonies in the United States, a number that is tracked by the USDA. And while it's true that beekeepers play a major role in sustaining our planet's honeybee populations, anybody interested in beekeeping needs to suit up with the proper beekeeping equipment. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, beekeeping tools such as beekeeping gloves are necessary for both protection and preservation. Here are the two main reasons beekeeping gloves are such a necessity for beekeepers.

Hand Protection

The primary benefit of beekeeping gloves -- not to mention the most obvious -- is that they're designed to provide complete protection against bee stings. This is essential because bees often use their stingers as a defense mechanism when they're being handled incorrectly because they perceive it as a threat, and the hands are the part of the body that's closest and most vulnerable when interacting with bees. That's why gloves are especially essential for those who are still beekeeping beginners. Still, while many experts tend to forego the use of protective gloves, they're an asset for beekeepers of any and all abilities and experience levels.

Quality Preservation

The secondary reason beekeeping gloves are so essential involves preserving the purity of the entire contents of the colony. This includes raw organic honey, bee pollen, and even the bees themselves. When dirty, unprotected hands enter the hive and interact with the bees, there's a major potential for the introduction of a germ or bacteria that can compromise the entire hive. Experts say dirty hands can even spread diseases and cause deaths within a beehive colony!

Ultimately, understanding these two major reasons for investing in beekeeping gloves can help you raise healthy hives while staying protected. Keep in mind that as you begin to grow more comfortable working with the bees, you can eventually invest in thinner gloves that provide the same quality preservation benefits without the thickness and sting protective elements. Whichever type of gloves you're comfortable with, rest assured that there's a suitable option for you. Always prioritize both your own comfort and the comfort of the bees in your beekeeping efforts and endeavors, and don't hesitate to reach out to a professional if you have concerns about maintaining the quality of your beehives.