The first and probably most important thing to do is get over it – yeah… bees… insects and flying things in general. Ok, so sometimes it really isn’t that easy… but it does come.
I remember the first time I went out to the apiary (the official name of the bee yard) we dawned our leather gloves that went up to our elbows, long shirts and pants taped at the cuff – then a veil and helmet. I followed suit, but fortunately I had come a month before to volunteer to set up the apiary – now THAT was an experience. Up pulls a 16′ trailer with 2′ cubes stacked four high. The buzz emanating from the trailer was undeniable. And when I was handed the first wooden box I was concerned about dropping the unexpected weight when I became keenly aware of the buzzing of bees you could actually feel as my face was pressed against the #8 hardware cloth that made up the bottom of the cube. Yeah… think about it. Up close and personal.
But that was it… after that abrupt introduction no problems. In fact, I grinned… and even let out a ‘whoo hoo’ when I was later stung by one of the bees after I had become comfortable enough to take off my gloves – and later my veil. Don’t let this worry you… really. You get on the gloves and the veil and you’ll be just fine. So, the first time you step into the apiary just stand there – calm and cool… let the bees swarm around you, get on you – you’ll be able to handle it a lot better if you’re not trying to lift a hive or change out your feeders.
So yeah, you guessed it. Go visit a bee yard somewhere – not everyone is going to be willing to let you come visit – some will make you sign a waiver – maybe you’ll need to take a class like the beginner beekeeper class offered by the Collin County Honey Beekeepers Association. However you do it – get out there with some bees. If you have a bunch of bees – say 100+ in your flower garden and you’re not bothered a bit then maybe you can move forward, but the bees are quite a bit more docile when they’re out foraging… hint, hint.
I say this is the first thing because if you can’t get over bees buzzing around your head… well, you’ll have a hard time with the rest of it. Be patient, it really isn’t scary – it actually is very cool!