“YOU thought you were seriously outnumbered by females before with the cows, ewes, hens, wife and both dogs being bitches,” a friend remarked as I took him and John an ice cold beer into the garden. “Well now you really are. These hives you’ve got into, there’s about 60,000 bees in each one, and most of them are female.”

Which could explain why John has spent most of last week doing a rather good impression of Shrek, the cartoon character with the lumpy, distorted, swollen face.

It all started last Monday. John decided that he was going to transfer the bees from one of his old hives, into a new, all mod cons des res.

To do this he had to put the new hive by the side of the old hive and move the frames, full of bees, wax and honey, over into their new bee palace.

Now clearly you do not even attempt to upset a hive like this without donning some sort of protection.

In this case bee-proof overalls and veil. John had already stuck some tape over the veil where his chin was touching it, as the bees previously had found this weak spot and stung him several times. But what he had not done was securely zip the veil to the top of the overall. Within minutes six or seven bees had found the gap and crawled in.

As fast as John swatted his face a bee stung him. Now apparently when you squash a bee a pheromone is released that signals to the rest of the hive that they are under attack.

The first I knew about it was when the bees started to attack the Land Rover, as well as John, who seconds earlier had shot past me furiously swatting a dark cloud of bees who were in hot pursuit. Ping. Ping. Ping.

The bees furiously crashed onto the roof and windows of the vehicle. How they knew that their attackers co- conspirator, in their eyes anyway and they do have a lot of them, was cowering in there, I do not know. One did get in, but I am afraid I squashed it, which probably didn’t help matters, but at least I did not get stung.

After initially reacting with shock on seeing John trying to beat the swarm off with some branches of leaves, and realising that getting out of the Land Rover to help him was not a good idea, I did the next best thing. Reached for my iPad and filmed it. Might make me a fortune one day on the internet.

PS He has recovered and the bees are settled in their new home. Film rights negotiable.