One thing I love doing with bees, is just watching them go about their work. The hive is looks like an airport, with bees coming in with their loads, and bees quickly leaving to collect more pollen or nectar.
What you should do is go to your local agriculture department, or cooperative extention office, and get intouch with some local beekeepers. Most beekeepers are very friendly, and would LOVE to give you a look at the hives and bees. You need to get inside the hive to really see how fasinating they are. They're hard workers, and have a very organized society (the bees that is).
About refining honey: fresh honey (from the average small beekeeper) I know isn't refined - just taken right from the hive by putting the frames in a spinner. I don't know about commercial honey, if they refine any of that or not.
Thankfully I've never (so far) had a bee in my suit. :) John (Beemaster) has had a horrible experience of dropping a whole box of bees on his feet (maybe 20,000 bees in it). He wasn't wearing a suit that day, but only a shirt and short with shoes. The worst part was the fact that he was wearing BOXERS instead of briefs........ not a good thing. :)
I've only been stung once, on my hand. My cat got a good dose of the bees though. I felt bad for her, but it was kinda funny. She thought the bees looked intersting to play with, and she stuck her paw in the hive entrance. The guard bees quickly rushed out, lunged on her back, and dug in for some stings. The poor girl went running off, kicking and hissing, and the bees looked like they were going for a bucking bronco ride. Taught her not to follow me over to the hives while I work. She keeps her distance now.