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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I did a late August graft and I've got two more queens that are now laying. See this post for more details if necessary. But I have a problem with enough resources to winter them.

One queen is in a 5 frame deep nuc with a frame feeder. The other is in a two frame mating nuc with deep frames. I mostly run 8 frame gear and all of my deep boxes and most of my drawn deep frames are in use as I more than doubled my apiary size this summer. All my other hives are well stocked for winter. I also have two medium super 8s full of capped honey that I can give the nucs. I have some unused 10 frame boxes, all are mediums.

The resource problem is one of boxes. I've got enough honey and enough frames.

I can build a 10 frame divided deep on Saturday morning. That will let me winter both new queens side by side. But to give them honey for winter I can either put dividers in two of my 10 frame mediums, giving each colony 1 story of 4 deeps, and two stories of 4 medium frames of honey each. Although they would have a division board, I can't just un-stack them for inspection since each story is a full box. I think that to inspect I would have to remove all the frames on both sides and keep them separate.

How much of a problem is this going to be when inspecting, especially in the spring time?

I could go ahead and make four medium size four frame supers. Would that be a better path? That would be wintering them on 1 story of 4 deeps and two stories of 4 mediums. Thats 5 boxes to make, and I'm not too keen on making 4 frame medium nucs.

Or I could steal the second story of full deeps from another hive, give it both mediums to winter on, and then set up the new queens in a double 4x4.

The first option has the least amount of building, but can the double nuc work when the upper stories still consist of one box?
 

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You use 5 frame deeps. Make 3 more and do side by side deeps and give the mediums to the donor of the deep honey frames. comm style covers. Still leaves you a few drawn deep frames short.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do have another option here now that I've had a chance to mull it over. I have three unused 8 frame deeps. Including the donor box that gives me four. If I filled them with XPS insulation boards I could configure them as 4x5, using up all of my drawn frames. I've only got one five frame nuc feeder, but plenty of feeding capacity for my 8 frames. I would still have to make two more bottom boards and two more tops - something I'd have to do for nucs as well so that's a wash for work/time.

(Running out of equipment is not a bad place to be seeing how I more than doubled this summer)
 

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The really important thing is to keep the queens separated and make sure that they can't move from one box to the other, or contact each other in any way. So if you are using divider boards, or follower boards, you need to make sure they go all the way down to the bottom board, or that there is a ridge between the two halves that the divider board can rest on. Another way to insure no contact is to give each half of the 8 or 10 frame box its own inner cover. I have made wooden inner covers for my 4x4's that are 8-1/8 inches wide and have a feeder hole. I keep a piece of wood on top of the inner frame that goes over the feeder hole when I open the hive so that bees and queens can't move back and forth. The inner cover doesn't have to be wood. MP himself used to use burlap over the top as an inner cover. So you can improvise.

I think what you would want to avoid is opening the whole thing up and taking the frames out, unless you could keep them completely separate.

All that said, I made 4 frame nuc boxes that are 8-1/8 " wide and 19-7/8 inches long. They fit on a bottom board that I adapted. It has a 3/4" high and 1-1/2" wide divider running down the center that the inside edges of the nuc boxes rest on. I also had to make entrances on opposite ends of the bottom board.

Some of my resource hives have a divided 10 frame box on the bottom that I purchased from Dadant. But the ones I made are just nucs side-by-side on the bottom board. They probably aren't as stable, but they are 3 or four levels high (can't remember) and I have had no problems. I do tie them down with a ratchet style haul strap or a piece of rope for added stability and security.
 

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Instead of a 4×4, why not winter in 8 frame deeps? You can leave division board feeder in to take up a comb if neccessary. Maybe a rim for sugar blocks if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
That's an idea I had not considered Clayton. I've never tried wintering on a single 8, but I have wintered before in 5x5. I've never tried Palmer's 4x4, but so many people have had good results I don't doubt it.

Things can change fast in the apiary. It might be moot - we shall see. The mating nuc got robbed this afternoon. I got into it, found a ball of bees, and found the queen in the middle of a ball. I got her out of there but she wasn't moving. She was breathing and she looks like she might recover. See here for more details.

If she doesn't make it then her sister will be able to have an 8 frame with an 8 frame super no problem.


edit: Update. The mating nuc queen did not recover. So this is all moot now. The robbers killed the mating nuc, so her sister queen inherited her brood frames, and she'll have 8 deep frames to winter on plus two medium 8 supers. So it is all moot now. Unfortunately.
 
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