So I have a hive that I combined a 1 box Warre and extracted the top box. So now the partially drawn combined box is on the bottom and I put the extracted box on top. This box is now 5 boxes tall. I put the extracted box on top hoping for a fall flow harvest. The box feel like it has some weight, but I don't see much for nectar in it (didn't try to remove combs yet). There seems to be some chaining bees in the partial box on bottom. The middle three have brood with the top box feeling considerably heavier than the bottom two. Also to note that the top box isn't fully drawn yet, but I did see some chaining bees in there.
So that's the background story. Here's a few questions. If the bees only partially fill the top box what should I do with it? Also is there such a thing as wintering on to many boxes? I know Warre said two boxes, but he also lived in a different climate. This hive wintered on 3 last year, but what if I left them with 4-5 boxes? Harmful or negligible difference? I notice that my other hives are starting to do some back filling of the brood nest. So what do you think I should do? Just leave them alone or remove that top box or something different?
Re: Wintering Boxes
I don't think too many boxes is a problem but I do wonder about too much empty space above the swarm in the winter. I'd put the partially filled box on the bottom and let the bees work down. This close to winter letting the bees get ready might be a good idea. Are you worried about the wind tipping a hive that tall this winter?
Actually now that I think about it. I'd take it off, leave it next to the hive and let the bees rob the stores out of it. Then store it till spring.