Nice pic. I don't ever see that level of crowding here - maybe as bad as the center unit but nowhere near as bad as the outside hives. And only then in very hot weather. You're lucky you can get away with that. My excess bees would be settled on a tree limb.
This is an interesting comment. I'm assuming the pics are after harvest and the comment refers to CB hives after also.
Do you think these population differences have an effect on stored honey before winter clustering comparing the two systems? In what way if any?