As far back as I can remember, I was standing beside my father at the beehives.
He had three hives in the barn loft at our house in Monaghan and I remember standing there with no veil and not getting stung, because it was dark in there except for the light coming through the pigeon holes. They'd just fly out towards the light, and wouldn't go near us.
You can tell a lot about the weather from bees. If I see a lot of activity around the hive it means it's going to be good weather.
I talk to my bees all the time. A lot of people do . . . my dad talked to them all his life. You just talk to them about your family or whatever's going on in your life, and the bees can't hear you but they feel the vibrations. They used to believe that by talking to bees, the bees wouldn't be aggressive towards you then . . . but I have my own explanation. By me sitting there talking calmly to them, it's me that's getting calmed down, not them.
You're relating whatever you're feeling in a nice calm, relaxed manner and you're not giving off panicky vibes.
Beekeeping tends to run in families. My grandfather and father did it and my daughter has done her preliminary exam.
If I upset my bees by killing some of them by accident they'll get very angry and chase me 20/30 yards away from the hives.
But you just ignore them and they'll go back, and I don't get stung because I have my gear on. And it's only a short distance . . . unlike the Africanised Killer Bee, where several thousand of them might chase you for up to half a mile. But we don't have them in Ireland.
There's nothing as nice as producing your own jar of honey. I eat about a pound of it every week.
Very few people get stung by bees . . . most people get stung by wasps.
The bee, when it stings you, will die: its sting is barbed like a fish hook and when it goes into your skin the bee can't pull it out. So when it tries to pull away it pulls the venom sack from its own body, and the sting keeps pumping venom into you.
The best thing to do is scrape it out with your fingernail and rub vinegar on your skin.
If you have a sore throat, take a spoonful of honey but don't swallow it . . . swallowing it does your tummy a power of good but it bypasses your throat. So hold it in your mouth until it dissolves.
Beekeeping is my passion. Some people play golf and they do the same blathering about it. And other fellas sit on the barstool and blather about everything and nothing.
Philip McCabe will give a lecture: 'Honeybees and their effect on Mankind' at Airfield House, Dundrum,