Most hives, including the recent Flow Hive, are based on a design from 1852. For those who use the national hive, that dates from the 1930's. So much has been learned about bees and what they need for a healthy colony since then, but much of beekeeping is stuck rigidly in the past, unable to think outside the traditional stacked boxes.
So it was with great sadness that I learnt in February of the death of a great hive designer and natural beekeeper, Fedor Lazutin. While Fedor's hives are designed to collect honey, they are also all about the bee. Renowned bee researcher Thomas Seeley says of Fedor's book:
"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." - Thomas D. Seeley, Cornell University, author of Honeybee Democracy.
Fedor clearly loved his wife and children who feature in the book. If you have interest in Fedor's hive and management system, you should get his book, "Keeping Bees With a Smile", and this will also in some small way help Fedor's loved ones. In memory of Fedor, I have started making my Lazutin inspired hive.