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You may have a question which is answered here.  If not, feel free to Contact Us. 
I have an allergy to bee stings, can I still take part?
If you have had anaphylaxis as a result of a bee sting you cannot take part in beekeeping sessions with Hive Helpers, even if you bring your Epi-Pen.  You are welcome to join us for conservation activities.   
If you have previously been stung by a bee and had a reaction which wasn't anaphylaxis, but maybe still resulted in swelling or discomfort, you will still be able to participate in beekeeping. 
Everyone who takes part in Hive Helpers activities does so at their own risk and will need to sign an agreement to say that they understand this and to state that they have not had a previous anaphylactic reaction to bee stings.  Parents will need to declare this of behalf of their children.  
We take all the Health & Safety precautions we can to minimise the risk of bee stings occurring, which includes wearing protective gear and safe behaviour around the hives, which makes being stung unlikely, but not impossible!  Hive Helpers staff are also first aid trained to recognise anaphylaxis.  
I am afraid of bees.  I'd like to take part but I'm worried I'll panic...
Having a fear of flying insects, especially bees, is actually quite common.  It often stems from situations where we are stung or chased by bees and wasps in the past; a very natural reaction to a nasty experience!  Such fears can feel really overwhelming and cause lots of stress. 
At Hive Helpers we can show you how to interact safely with our bees and other wild insects and give you strategies and tips to help you feel empowered and in control.  We will never make you do anything you feel uncomfortable with and will help you work through your worries at your own pace.  Everyone who participates is free to take time-outs from a session if they ever feel anxious.  We know how scary facing your fears can be and have total respect for people who want to challenge how they feel about bees. If you'd like to take part but beekeeping really isn't for you, you are more than welcome to join us for our conservation activities.  
Do I need my own bee suit to take part?
We provide all our participants with bee suits, which are cleaned between each use to comply with Covid-19 safety guidance.  Please do not wear shorts, skirts or 3/4 length trousers to beekeeping sessions.  We also recommend you wear trainers, boots or wellies to sessions and never open-toed shoes, sandals or flip-flops.  
What does being stung by a bee feel like and what will happen if I am stung?
This is a difficult question to answer because bee stings affect people differently.  Some people report a short, sharp shock then almost nothing, others feel it like nettle rash, other say it feels like being hit with a hammer!  Some people swell up and some don't.  The feeling can last a while or not long at all.  Some people can have anaphylactic reactions which affect their airway and can be very serious if not treated.  You can develop reactions over time if exposed to bee stings or you can develop a tolerance.  
A bee can give you a 'glancing blow', where it doesn't leave the sting in your skin, but a small amount of venom enters.  These tend to be less painful.  It is true that if the sting is left in your skin then the bee will die.  This is because their body is damaged when the sting is detached.  Only female bees have stings.    
Is it cruel to take the bees' honey?
At Hive Helpers we harvest our hive products sensitively so as not to put strain on the colonies and we never leave our colonies without food over the winter months, often supplementing their stores with extra food.  Honey bee colonies struggle to survive in the wild as disease and pests can make colonies weak and unable to survive winter.  Honey bees have the best chance when cared for by a beekeeper who will check for disease and parasites, medicate when needed and feed weak colonies. 
What other activities do you do?
At Hive Helpers we not only do beekeeping sessions but a range of conservation activities, looking at conservation holistically, how we can improve local habitats as a whole.  This is the best way to make positive impacts on the environment and as a result help wild pollinators naturally.  We also like to do activities which increase knowledge and inspire people to care for the natural world as well as outdoor activities which improve wellbeing.  Here are just some of our other activities: planting for pollinators, crafting, creating ponds, protecting and managing hedgerows, litter picking, surveys, making wild art, foraging, exploring, using camera traps, rare habitat management, bird-watching, bat watching, star gazing, making a hibernaculum, river dipping, raising awareness about pesticides and sustainability, outdoor games, treasure hunts and even going on picnics! 
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