It is a potentially deadly allergic reaction that is perhaps best avoided when surrounded by thousands of bees.

Beekeeper Joyce Jack, 72, is severely allergic to the insects' sting, which leaves her prone to anaphylactic shock.

Mrs Jack, from Peebles in the Borders, has to carry with her an EpiPen injector, a device to administer adrenaline if the worst happens.

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However, she has not been put off working with the bees despite suffering one bad reaction already to a sting.

She said: "When I was stung, I was labouring with my breathing and it caused itchiness all over my body.

"Once I had the adrenaline, my condition improved."

Mrs Jack still has a hands-on approach at the apiary, but takes precautions. She said: "When I approach the apiary, I put a bee suit on.

"I still have a hands-on approach, but I don't go to open the hives.

"I went to work directly on the hives after I came out of the hospital but my GP went bananas.

"She wanted me to stop beekeeping, but I feel too passionate about it."