Here's how these mating nucs were run all summer. Divided nucs with five, half sized deeps on each side:
Transferred into divided 10 frame deeps to hold a colony on each side:
Below: Another 'condo' after transfer..colony in back transfered two weeks ago. Colony in front transfered three weeks ago. Not all frames are drawn out yet, but they are trying to build up as you can see by the new comb on the top bars and inner screened cover:
If they havn't drawn out and filled all the frames in the bottom box, I don't 'bait' them up to the new box with any drawn frames, so they fill the bottom deep before moving up.This photo was taken July 13th.
Give them another box and feed well:
Here they are after about a month-photo taken 8-10-13:
One side stronger than the other. This is the upper box:
The smaller mating nucs do suppress the newly mated queen if you keep her in very long. Give her more room and watch her go to town!
Overwintering double colonies is a little tricky. You need to equalize the colonies so they are about the same strength going into the winter. Easy to do with a little manipulation and increased/reduced feeding depending on the needs.
I could put a queen excluder on top and let the bees mingle over winter, keeping the queens separate. But the problem with that is during the winter the bees will pick a favorite queen and jump ship to the other side, abandoning their queen. Be sure your hive divider tolerances are tight! Or they will sneak over to the other side on their own.
I have 40 premium queens I am over wintering this way. Some will be in singles, some doubles. I'll let you know how it goes.
Those that overwinter well and show excellent qualities will be available as breeder quality, locally mated Northern queens. I plan to use the others for making up early nucs and any replacements I may need for my larger hives.
I picked a good year to make increases to my yard. Suger is the lowest I've seen it since I have had bees. I paid $9.73 for a 25# C&H at costco. Just bought another ton