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  1. #21
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    Aug 2005
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    If I get one good idea from the book it will be worth the money. I made my purchase based on Dr. Seeley's blurb which is extremely effusive for him. I have listened to a few of Dr. Seeley's talks and find him extremely credible. I'm willing to read a book about how one person (at least) keeps bees in one part of Russia - a subject I know nothing about. Do I buy all the claims on the cover? You'll need to wait for my review, but I must decline and thank you kindly for your bridge offer.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  2. #22
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    4,953

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I built twelve frame hives with frames double depth of a deep.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ight=gargantua

    I have phased them out as a nuisance. Problem # 1 is that I can not extract the frames. And they died as easily as any other hive while being choked with honey. I have one left which has six of the frames hanging in a double deep with normal frames on the outside. Because the frame is so big the bees fill it with honey and do not push the honey up into supers I can extract. When it dies that experiment i finished. Hives with boxes that have a size that can be disassembled is much better than a gigantic hive with gigantic frames. Been there, done that. I am just too honest to write a book claiming that it is the salvation of modern beekeeping.

  3. #23
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    • you don’t need to inspect the bees, treat them or smoke them
    • no stings
    • produce truly natural honey without robbing the bees;
    • reverse the global bee decline... right in your backyard!

    So if I build these I'll never get stung again? AND I never need to smoke them again? And I'll never have to rob them again and I still get honey? And I can revers the global bee decline? By myself? In my own backyard?

    Wow! I can't wait!
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #24
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    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bolton, Ontario, Canada
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    277

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post


    Wow! I can't wait!
    And it will only cost you $40.00 plus shipping to find out the secrets
    You Tube bee Channel Zone 5A
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GlenGH

  5. #25
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I take it we're all in accordance with the idea that Dr. Seeley is pretty gullible for recommending this book?

    I'm still going to read it.

    My wife, who knows almost nothing about beekeeping, but who is very bright, pointed out something interesting. She looked at the pictures and said something like. "Don't bee trees have very deep combs too?"

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    Exactly. She is very bright. Trees are deep, rather than long.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #27
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    6,021

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    •keep bees naturally without interfering in their lives;
    •start an apiary for free by attracting local bee swarms;
    •build maintenance-free hives that mimic how bees live in nature;
    •keep colonies healthy & strong without any drugs or gimmickry;
    •enhance local nectar plant resources;
    •produce truly natural honey without robbing the bees;
    •reverse the global bee decline... right in your backyard!

    I've seen all those claims made in books about top bar hives.

    The proponents of any hive design often like to believe their one is the most natural. However I believe the Russian one has been around a while and seems to work for them. Cerezha also referenced similar ones that had a super added, so plenty of room to store a good crop, and he did mention a huge crop.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #28
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    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    >I take it we're all in accordance with the idea that Dr. Seeley is pretty gullible for recommending this book?

    Perhaps not. Seeley's actually read it and I haven't. The PR person making those claims may be a different thing entirely from how interesting and useful the book may actually be...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >I take it we're all in accordance with the idea that Dr. Seeley is pretty gullible for recommending this book?

    Perhaps not. Seeley's actually read it and I haven't. The PR person making those claims may be a different thing entirely from how interesting and useful the book may actually be...
    Yeah, I'm hoping that Seeley's take is a better indicator of the book's value than those somewhat breathless claims.

    There may be some cultural differences too. Russians, I have discovered, throw themselves into their pursuits with sometimes frightening enthusiasm. Which, all things considered, I like. Give me hot and cold, rather than lukewarm.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    San Diego, CA
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    10

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    I wonder what race of bees the smiling Russian beekeepers are using?
    Red ones, I would bet.

    For some ineffable reason, the kid on the front cover bugs me.

    I think it might be the 70's head band...

  11. #31
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I've started reading the book, and so far, pretty interesting.

    It's beekeeping from a very Russian perspective, which I was hoping would be the case.

    Michael, I think you might find it interesting. The book is fairly recursive. For example, I just read a passage on supplemental feeding. It was excerpted from a book published 50 years ago about the work of a Russian bee researcher who died in 1942. This later researcher tied the old guy's work into Miller's work. Fascinating stuff.

  12. #32
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I'm envious - my copy is scheduled for delivery tomorrow.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  13. #33
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    Well, I'm halfway through the book, and I have to say that I'm enjoying it quite a bit more than I feared I might.

    One very interesting aspect of it is the sense I'm getting of just how large and deep the Russian bee literature is. The author refers to many works from the 19th and 20th century that I'd love to read, but alas, I speak no Russian.

    If you're one of those folks who is interested in (for lack of a better word) "natural" beekeeping, you'll find much to agree with and much to dispute.

    I have discovered the rationale for the really deep frames. The idea is to provide the bees with overhead storage of adequate honey in a one-box hive. Apparently you can make the appropriate depth by cutting the ears off a deep frame and screwing it to another deep frame. You can extract these frames in a standard extractor by separating the halves.

    He gives much importance to bee race. He refers to the right bee for his area as the "European dark bee." I wonder if these are the Russian bees being sold here. Oddly, his description of the characteristic behavior of these bees reminds me of the descriptions I've read of AHB behavior-- aggressive, swarmy, tend to be runny on the frames and drip off the bottoms.

    I would guess the most controversial aspect of his program is that he's against what he call artificial methods of increase. He believes you should make increase from swarms only. I should add that he claims his system does not encourage swarming, and that in fact to get a good colony to swarm from one of his hives, it must be restricted and overcrowded.

    According to the author, the three most important aspects of success in beekeeping, in descending order are:

    (1) Nectar sources

    (2) Bee race (genetics)

    (3) Hive design and cultural practices.

    Anyway, I'm glad I spent the money. Very thought-provoking little book.

  14. #34

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I am not glad I spent the money. Reading the book is a waste of time.

    It seems to me that the author did a lot of research but little beekeeping. Lots of facts mixed and muddled with naive thoughts, assumptions and assertions.

    The main "thoughts" are repeated over and over again. In fact there are lots of repeats in that book. I don't like that since you can rewrite a part when editing a book - and not attach a slightly new version of a part at the end of the book. Would save the reader reading time.

    As the authors states: it works for him in Russia. Surrounded by natural woods and a natural landscape. Fine. If I would use his methods, and in fact I did when experimenting, I ended up with either dead hives or no honey. And yes, I have long hives. Even had very deep frames in some of them.

    The book made me smile here and there. "Two manipualtions per year." 1. Spring inspection. 2. Adding a couple of empty frames or foundations every 7-14 days. 3. Adding a couple of frames and foundations every 7-14 days. 4. Fill up with empty frames/foundation when the main flow hits. 5. Harvest in autumn. Makes 2.

    Well, I do not see much difference compared to conventional beekeeping, since conventional beekeeping doesn't do much different? Except a split for swarm prevention or requeening. But is this a significant difference?

    There are far better books on beekeeping in a long hive (in German) for sure and beekeeping in general.

    Are there better books on natural beekeeping? Don't know. Local bees (dark bees), plus a wonder hive plus doing nothing/hands off is not a real new recipe. (For desaster.) There are loads of such books. And if you want to read the expectations, thoughts and assertions from new beekeepers, you find it on the internet/web. Loads of it. For free. At least they don't use styrofoam as hive material for their natural approach. Unlike the Russian long hive described in that book.

    Sorry for being a bit grumpy, but that book simply annoyed me.

  15. #35
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I still found the book quite interesting. There were a couple of aspects of his system that seemed thought-provoking to me.

    One was the notion of making increase via swarms rather than splits. My reading in general tells me that hives started with swarms generally do build up better than splits, and the rationale seemed good to me-- that swarming was the evolved way of reproducing the colony, and that the optimal mix of bees for establishing a new hive goes out with a swarm.

    The other is the notion of deep frames. I've read in numerous sources that bees like to have stores overhead. One of the many criticisms I've seen leveled at long hives is that bees prefer to move up into stores rather than sideways into stores. With deep comb, you can have that overhead honey while closing the hive down into a compact shape, using follower boards.

    I didn't see the book as advocating a do nothing-style of beekeeping. I saw it as a more intensely interactive method than conventional Langstroth beekeeping.

    It's true that he does not advocate treatment. But the Russians have been dealing with varroa much longer than Americans have (and, I assume, Germans.) It may be that their stocks have evolved more resistance, due to the much longer time frame.

    Admittedly, one of the appeals for me is that his area of Russia is similar, climate-wise, to our place in upstate NY. I think I may try a deep hive or two next spring.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    By no means I want to trash that book. It must have been a lot of work to write it and illustrate it and translate it. Still the content is more theoretical. Nothing new thought provoking for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    One was the notion of making increase via swarms rather than splits. ...the optimal mix of bees for establishing a new hive goes out with a swarm.
    That is certainly true, that a swarm has an optimal mix of bees. But swarming as a natural increase is not really a new invention. In fact many beekeepig systems are based on it. Like skep beekeeping. Still there is a problem: swarming means no honey harvest for you. In many many locations. The skep beekeepers solved it like this: Multiply one hive into four hives. In autumn harvest (and kill) all hives but one. "Harvesting" about 5 Kilogramm per skep. 3x5 kg = 15 kg. Whew...There is a reason why this never has been tried with box hives. I have fixed comb hives that swarm every year. Harvest: 0. I do splits with the same type of fixed comb hive and reunite them later. Harvests:30-40 kg.

    Let them swarm can force you to feed every year over and over again. There is a reason why simply letting swarm them is not adopted all over the World. Remember: two very good years, two very bad years, the rest is medium. In good years the bees may make a surplus, all other years they don't. Race doesn't matter. I have dark bees, Carnolians and Buckfast bees side by side. There is some differences but not significant ones.


    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    other is the notion of deep frames. ...to move up into stores rather than sideways into stores. With deep comb, you can have that overhead honey while closing the hive down into a compact shape, using follower boards.
    I know hive types that are very flat. Search for pictures of the "Bienenkiste". It combs are of merely 20 cm height. But very long. Maybe 80 cm. Stil those hives winter perfectly with no other protection. So the bees can go sidewards when under the inner cover/roof. And of course they like to go upwards. And that is what they do in any type of box hive. What's the problem? This small gap of the topbars or frames? Not really. If that would matter, a lot of bee colonies would die every winter. They don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    But the Russians have been dealing with varroa much longer than Americans have (and, I assume, Germans.) It may be that their stocks have evolved more resistance, due to the much longer time frame.
    Varroa arrived Germany in 1975. 38 years ago. Since then many many people tried hard to get survivors.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I think I may try a deep hive or two next spring.
    Deep hives are interesting. I still keep a couple of different long hive types for experimentation. Don't think they do much of a difference to the bees.

    Would love to hear your reports, if you try them. Don't expect too much though.

    In France there is a similiar system. I try to find the pictures for you.

  17. #37
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    Bernhard, I'd enjoy seeing those pictures.

    The long hives I've had this year in Florida have been a delight to work with, much easier than the Langstroth hives I have. The convenient access to all parts of the hive is a big plus for me, as a beginner trying to learn about beekeeping. know Michael Bush has run medium depth long hives successfully, and the long hives I have now are deeps.

    But up in the North Country, they sometimes get 40 degrees below zero (F.) so I'm wondering if an insulated very deep hive might do somewhat better.

    I didn't get the impression that the author was claiming anything new about his methods. I thought it was more like a synthesis of old ways and new.

    One idea made me think-- the long entrance slot, which could be used to manipulate the location of the brood nest by opening it up in different places along the length of the slot.

    Probably the most interesting aspect of the book for me was that it revealed a long and rich culture of beekeeping in a faraway land. We Americans sometimes have blinders on when it comes to foreign approaches to occupations that have a long history in this country, and forget that our history is not very lengthy, compared to most places in the world.

  18. #38
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I'm working my way slowly through the book. I fear it will take me two or three passes to discover what the author is trying to communicate - not because the book is poorly written, but rather because the book is so full of ideas that i want to consider.

    I don't know that I'll spend time this winter constructing a deep frame horizontal hive. The correct way (from what I'm gathering from the book) to populate the hive would be with a swarm of local bees. As I am 1) not convinced that there is much if any of a population of feral locally adapted bees in my area and 2) I think most swarms in my area are the product of kept stock (hobby and migratory commercial), I don't know that I would find success in the methods I'm reading about.

    There is much to think about when comparing natural bee nests in trees with our modern hives. I keep reminding myself that knowledge is constantly being accumulated - and perhaps we have less of an understanding of the natural world than we think we do.

    I think after reading this book I'll revisit the writings of the "old time" bee researchers.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  19. #39
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
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    66

    Default Re: Keeping Bees with a smile book

    I read the book and found it very interesting, thought provoking and entertaining, which I believe is what Dr. Seeley said. I think I will try a long hive in the Spring. Right now I strive to overwinter with 2 mediums so I think I will try a long hive 2 medium frames deep. I am sure I will learn something new about the bees. I recommend that you give the book a read.

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