Tuesday, October 6, 2015
How To Get Over Your Fear of Beekeeping
I often have people tell me that they would like to keep bees or have a beekeeper keep some hives on their property but they are afraid.
They sometimes can't articulate their exact fear but let's just assume that it's being chased down and stung to death by a swarm of angry bees. Okay, or being stung at all. Unlike a lot of beekeepers, NOT being stung is really high on my list of priorities. Many beekeepers get lots of stings and even let those helping them get stung to gain immunity. Nope. People, that's what the bee suit is for. If you come to visit me and my bees I'm going to try to make sure you don't get stung.
So if you are interested in beekeeping but you are nervous, here's what I suggest:
1. Get to know a beekeeper. This is so that you can ask them a million and one questions. Besides bees the thing beekeepers like best is talking about bees. We're a quirky lot.
2. Read lots of books and articles. But don't read the parts about all the things that can go wrong. There are lots of wonderful books that will inform you with just about all the information you need to know. But some of them are full of so many pictures of the diseases and pests that it can be kind of frightening. There's plenty of time to learn about all that later. In the beginning just focus on how to maintain a happy healthy hive of bees.
3. Go with someone to a bee yard. I desperately wanted to keep bees but wasn't sure how I would actually react when thousands of them were buzzing all around me. What if I was overwhelmed and had a panic attack or something? I'd never even been around bees when I decided I wanted to become a beekeeper! My local beekeeping association had a day when potential beekeepers could come out and visit the club's apiary. They opened about 15 hives at once to give everyone a chance to see inside. I was a little nervous and it didn't help when a bee got inside my veil! Read about the entire experience here.
4. Do it. The only way to get comfortable with the bees is just to jump in after you've read, studied, and prepared. The truth is, the more you deal with them the better you understand them and the more comfortable you'll be.
5. Be brave! You can do this. If beekeeping is something you feel drawn to then go ahead and study up, prepare, get to know some other beekeepers and then act.
Don't let being fearful keep you from enjoying this interesting hobby. As a matter of fact, don't let fear keep you from doing anything. Fear is a terrible place to make decisions from!
Have you ever overcome fear to do something and were glad you did? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! Do that bee thing and share!