Papabear, I love hearing this question as it brings up all kinds of techniques of how to use suits, what kind to get, and whether or not to use a suit at all! ;)
I'm like you Papa...I have a hard time dealing with the heat nowadays...sweat dripping onto glasses under the veil.....having a itch where you cant get to...baseball cap slipping down your face from too much sweat( I use the cap to hold the front of the veil away from my face especially my nose!)
At first, getting the suit and stuff was really cool...Then, taking pics while wearing the suit was fun :-D....But, when it comes right down to it, now,...I try not to use anything while messing with the bees! I'll take the stings over the heat anytime! especially when its 110 degrees or hotter out there!!!
But, I have learned recently that a little smoke makes a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE!!...Then again, you have to get the smoker going, and by the time your done doing what you wanted to do, the smoker finally gets to working really good!..It'll smoke for an hour or more when youre finished using it!
I dont like getting stung, thats for sure....but if bees didnt sting, some of the excitement of beekeeping would be lost, and everybody would want to keep bees!
I get stung....after the first couple, I might back off for a minute......Then, if they really get mad I do what the experts do....I RUN AWAY!...Sometimes I run and I havent even gotten the inner covers back on! then I gotta go back out and sneak up on those little boogers and put back everything I was doing!..and, if I feel what I'm doing is real important and may take awhile, I get the smoke...it almost always calms the bees down.
If I was you, I'd just strip down to a pair of shorts, walk up to a hive,move to the the left or right, and squat down and watch. They'll probably just ignore you...When you do this, you get your confidence built up :)...Then, you wont be afraid so much...You'll find yourself doing a little more every now and then...Then you wont even think of getting stung.......TILL YOU GET STUNG! :shock: :-D
I'd post a pic of me in action but I dont know where I stuck it....Oops.....Look what I just found!..I'm the one who looks a little....uhhhhhhh.....lost, sort of!
Hope I helped!