Readers’ reviews of Keeping Bees With a Smile

“A wealth of practical and applicable information. I keep bees in Langstroths, Warres and Top Bars, have for years. That being said, regardless of your style of beekeeping, this is a must read. Mr. Lazutin’s writing style is unique in that he is able to discuss very scientific matters in an enjoyable and understandable manner. This book has an incredible amount of what, when and why needs of a colony in a hive and what the keeper can do to assure those conditions are met. Chapter IV, ‘How Bee Colonies Winter, and How to Make Wintering as Successful as Possible’ alone is worth the price of the book. No matter what you keep your bees in or how you manage them, I can assure you, reading this book, will help you keep your bees alive.”
— Armin Schmidt, Washington

“If the bees could write a book review they would be screaming ‘Yay yay yay, finally, a book that makes sense for us!’ The author has been able to create such a beautifully simple, low maintenance, and successful approach to beekeeping that it just may be the way forward for our clearly failing conventional beekeeping approaches – which are ever more dependent on inputs. This book made doorstops out of almost all of our other beekeeping books. I read this book thinking the cover was cute and I wanted to see what the Russians were up to in regards to beekeeping. What lay ahead of me I could not imagine... reading it was a delight, and in fact did put a smile on my face :) It is completely paradigm shifting, and will inspire a whole new world, abundant in flowers, gardens, happy families and communities, happy bees...and most of all.... delicious, natural HONEY!”
— Kaelin Kiesel, Montana

“I just finished Keeping Bees with a Smile. It is one of the best books on raising Bees that I have read, and I am 77 years old! Very professional yet very easy to read, could not put it down. This seems to me to be the way to go as it is not so labor intensive. I am at the present running 3 Warre hives and 2 Kenyan style horizontal hives. They told me that the KTBH would not make it thru the winter but I have one 4-year hive and one 3-year hive and they are doing OK. God bless you and your family!”
— Thomas Perry, New Hampshire

“Excellent! This is the most common sense approach to beekeeping I have ever read! As a woman, this system is very appealing to me as I will no longer have to lift heavy supers again. The book provides much detail about how honeybees would live naturally without human intervention and the hives are designed around that concept. The hives are such a simple design that anyone can build them and they will be a joy to maintain. Hive plans are included in the book. The Editor makes himself available for questions and is extremely helpful. If you are a current beekeeper or are interested in becoming one I would highly recommend reading this book! I am looking forward to implementing horizontal hives in my bee yard this year!”
— Joyce, Pennsylvania

Keeping Bees With a Smile was a very interesting read and, at times, very refreshing for this old beekeeper. It’s nice to know that someone has been able to see the woods for all the trees. I have kept bees since the 1970’s. My beekeeping has come full circle: novice, sideliner, commercial, sideliner and now hobbyist. One of the most disappointing aspects of my beekeeping experiences was the simple fact that my operations were never self-sustaining. Even with some outstanding races and strains of bees, there was always this flaw in the basic beekeeping principles as practiced here in the US. In the past one Yugoslavian breeder told me that if I used large, deep frames my bees would winter well and build up faster in the spring. He was one of a number of old time beekeepers with the same suggestion. From the book I discovered that part of my routine to overwinter my colonies was in fact contributing to ice/water buildup above the winter cluster. I plan to build some of Mr. Lazutin’s hives. This book should be a boon to cold-climate beekeepers. There was one omission in the book, my nemesis the Black Bear!”
— Gerald, Michigan

“A great wealth of information to digest for this new bee enthusiast! Have started with a topbar hive. Have found this information priceless as I start out in enjoying the world of bees. Thank you.”
— Richard, Kansas

“This is a beautifully written, delightful book.”
— Nathan, Tennessee

“As an established beekeeper, I found this book to be a wonderful ‘continuing education’. The focus is logical, and sustainable beekeeping without relying on chemical treatments.”
— Marcia, Idaho

“Natural beekeeping without dopes or sugar water has always been my way & ultimate goal. We have the Russian editor of this book living right here in the Ozarks & he is conducting seminars on traps & Russian hives. I’m very excited to have this book and look forward to building my hives per I just completed Fedor’s 2-day seminar last weekend (it was phenomenal) and I am now far more advanced in my beekeeping skills. All my questions have been answered... now on to building heavy, sturdy horizontal hives.”
— Linn Rudman, Missouri

“In my years of keeping honeybees, I have read quite a few excellent books answering the many questions I have about them. When I saw this book on Amazon I almost didn’t bother looking at it because of the somewhat hokey title. But thank goodness I did! Mr. Lazutin has done an outstanding job in explaining why he believes natural beekeeping makes the most sense and how to go about accomplishing it. He thoroughly describes the important aspects of a honeybee colony, both in the wild and in ‘captivity’. He goes over the history of man-made hives and the pros and cons of each. I had wanted to try one of the European/Russian style extra-depth hives ever since finding out how long the comb was in nature (say in a hollow tree) and in an old house where I found a honeybee colony with three foot honeycombs! With the detailed plans he provides in his book, I was able to build my first insulated, extra depth hive and can’t say enough about how much I enjoy working my bees in it. As a matter of fact I am starting my second one soon. His design is a one box hive instead of the stacked boxes of the commercial Langstroth type. It is similar to a topbar hive, but with many improvements in my opinion. It is also much easier on my aging back! If you are a hobbyist beekeeper and are interested in raising your bees as stress-free and ‘natural’ as possible, you will want to give this a try. Even if you don’t build one of these hives or even raise bees, this book is a wonderful read and will give you a new appreciation for honeybees and their fascinating lives.
— Jim B., Virginia

“For anybody who really cares about the bees more than profit; this book makes sense. Morally, with the unprecedented and overwhelming challenges facing us all — I am excited and hopeful for this approach. I would like to have seen or read a little more detail about top and bottom insulation in this horizontal design; but overall a well written book.”
— Peggy Bell

Keeping Bees With a Smile is a valuable guide for independent-minded beekeepers who are seeking ways to keep bees without treating them with chemicals, disrupting their homes, and otherwise intruding on their lives. Fedor Lazutin, one of Russia’s foremost natural beekeepers, describes a beekeeping system based on a trust of a bee colony as a living being capable of solving life’s challenges without human assistance. Beginner-friendly and complete with fascinating photographs, it is a special book, and one that I expect will ‘shake up’ the thinking of the independent-minded beekeepers in North America and Europe.”
— Dr. Thomas D. Seeley, Professor, Cornell University, author of The Wisdom of the Hive

“This book is so inspiring! Until opening this book I thought that bee keeping was for ‘experts’ but now I believe that I can do it myself! Thank you for writing this and turning me onto a truly natural approach to bees that I was totally unaware of. I am planning on constructing a swarm trap and hope to catch one to welcome to my organic vegetable and flower farm. I recommend this book to everyone!”
— Susan, Ohio

“I am a wanna-bee keeper and probably will never make the jump into actual bee tending. I am very interested in bees and their welfare. I am an organic gardener and this book follows right along with doing things more naturally. Very interesting and a great alternative to the structure of the conventional Langstroth bee keeper here in the US, who seems to be reluctant to changes. Who knows I may order a trap and start my own hive this spring, this is a compelling book.”
— Phillip, Texas

Editor’s review of Keeping Bees With a Smile

“Keeping bees can be simpler than growing potatoes — but immeasurably more rewarding! Thanks to this book, I now know it firsthand. While the media are awash with the news of bees disappearing on a global scale, the author’s bees are healthy and happy, and the number of his hives naturally increases every year. He uses no medicines or any unnatural methods, inspects his hives ONCE PER YEAR, and harvests more honey than he can sell! This sounded so incredible I even went to Russia to see it all with my own eyes. And sure enough, it works (the author now has a hundred hives)!

Keeping Bees With A Smile really offers an in-depth understanding of the workings of the bee colony, and shows a truly natural way of beekeeping that is also hands-off and fun. Following the detailed and straightforward advice from this book, I built ten simple swarm traps (plans were included) and caught four swarms in the first six weeks! I then transferred these free bees to the special, well-insulated horizontal hives with 18”-deep frames (all plans included, too — the hives were easy and almost free to build). And that’s it! You don’t need to inspect the bees, treat them or smoke them, no requeening, no heavy lifting, no queen excluders, no hauling hives around, no stings — i.e., none of the hassles and expenses commonly associated with keeping bees. You leave bees alone and they are happy and productive. I’m using some beekeeping jargon here, but the whole approach is much simpler than this review. My 4-year-old son can manage these hives, and I’m not exaggerating!

The book is thorough (402 pages!), sumptuously illustrated, beginner-friendly yet covers so many subjects that are hard to find in other sources — e.g., effective colony propagation via swarming (creating, collecting, and installing your own swarms instead of making splits or buying bee packages); how to avoid any unwanted swarming without intruding into the brood nest; construction of well-insulated horizontal hives with extra-deep (18” deep) frames and why these are important; successful bee wintering even in the harshest of climates; natural alternatives to requeening; enhancing local bee genetics; completely natural approach with zero medicines and no sugar feeding; clear diagrams of all frame manipulations; and much more. The author’s approach is so... approachable and gentle on the bees that I feel it will take natural beekeeping to new heights. And it’s not just my opinion — the book has received high acclaim from such luminaries as Dr. Thomas D. Seeley of Cornell University (author of Honeybee Democracy and The Wisdom of the Hive).

Finally, I should add that this book has deeply influenced my entire world outlook, for which I am thankful. Just observing tens of thousands of bees work harmoniously together while transforming the surrounding terrain into blossoming landscapes has given me renewed hope for humanity. And yes, I now get to climb trees (to put up and take down swarm traps) and puff dandelions (to propagate nectar plants) — things we love as children but forget when we become the ‘serious adults’. Truly Keeping Bees WITH A SMILE at its best!”
— Dr. Leo Sharashkin, Missouri