We've harvested our honey, and are starting to prepare for winter. We are planning on wintering each hive with 2 deeps and 1 medium. While inspecting the hives this week, I was expecting the second deep (top) to be mostly full of stores, but instead, I found this box was mostly full of brood, and a few frames of stores on either side. The bottom box was fully drawn out, but empty, besides some pollen.
Will the queen move down, and the bees back fill the current brood areas with honey for winter? Is there anything I need to watch for to see that this is happening? I get that this is location specific, but are there any rules of thumb, such as the second deep should be full by X weeks before "winter?"
The one local source I have talked to (commercial keeper) takes ALL their honey off in mid to late Sept, and feeds all winter long. That isn't something I want to do.
If I do feed, say 2:1 sugar water until the top box and medium super are full, do I need to keep feeding them all winter long?
If I do feed now, what is a good way to ensure that the stored honey doesn't remain in the super when they start collecting nectar next fall? I'm hoping to split a few next year, so I guess I could just make sure that any of the remaining honey goes into mating nucs.
I also have about 20 frames, which I will be storing over to next year. Some have been laid in, and some have not. If I freeze them overnight in a chest freezer, can I store them in my basement, or are there specific precautions I should take.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to these questions!