Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...
Hiya kevin, glad to see you are still bee keeping.
I'm not commercial, but I see no one has responded yet, so thought I'd pitch in a little. My limited experience comes from working with a side-liner for 2 years maintaining his hives and doing almond pollination here in California.
The orchard owners want bee populations. They are wanting 8 deep frames covered with bees, from what I've heard. I imagine pollination contracts will pay better for 8 frames of bees than they will for 6 frames of bees.
You will need space in the hives to have some stores in place when you set the boxes in the orchards, as sometimes the weather is bad and the actual strong flow comes for about two weeks or less, but the bees get set in early and are released late to help get every last blossom pollinated. You also need enough hive space to reduce the odds for swarming while the bees are in the orchards.
I would imagine using all mediums would be just fine, but may I suggest you use 3 mediums per hive. They guy I worked with used 2 story 8 frame deeps for almond pollination.
20+ years with bees and still learning. Currently near Marysville, CA, 95901