Re: Needing some opinions
gp, we are about in the same climate and around here the old school is to overwinter is a single deep with a super of honey on top. the bees have overwintered here easily in that configuration.
i decided to give them a super on the bottom as well, which gets move up in late winter, and checkerboarded with the top super.
i don't worry about a queen excluder, as the super frames that have brood raised in them end up getting backfilled with honey or moved back to the bottom when a super is put back down there after the spring harvest.
i had to get a lot of comb drawn last year, and made the mistake of adding full boxes of foundation between the deep and the existing supers. i think it triggered swarming by creating a 'barrier' of no comb. from now on, all foundation will go on the very top or very bottom.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf