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I am reusing my mating nucs on 8 frame equipment over the winter. I purposely made them to hold 3 frames with a follower board in the Spring--however can squeeze in a 4th frame if needed. I have the boxes doubled up (side by side) and stacked on a divided solid bottom board. They have been treated for mites and have been fed. Winters have been pretty unpredictable in Richmond, VA the last few years, so I am making some feeding shims for emergency food. My question has to do with using a queen excluder below the feeding shim. Using one will eliminate the possibility of the queen crossing over--but is it absolutely necessary?
 

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My experience has been its fine for the summer, but as fall comes around the bees often chose a side leaving one queen to die. I have found them stumbling around on the top bars with less then a dozen bees left.. I messed up this year leaving them connected a bit to long and 3 out of 4 of my side by sides with a common feeder/super picked a side.

I think a divided feed shim to keep the colonies separate, or 2 separate ones would be a better plan
 

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To be clear that's 3 out 8 nucs lost..
3 out of 4 of the connected (fed in common with a QE) 2 colony side by sides became single colonies.
Of the 12 nucs that weren't connected I have lost 2
so a 16.6% failure rate VS a 37.5% failure rate... I need to change my fall feeding methods, the problem happened much earlier in the year this time... drought and all I guess

Works fine in the summer, If you take a good look at my profile pic you will see thats 4 deep supers on top of 2 5f nucs
 

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6a 3rd yr 5 production hives 1/ 2 q resource hive
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Not sure if this helps but, I use a 2 queen resource hive and chose to stack 3 boxes high side by side to avoid any co-mingling. They are still side by side for warmth. Had heard of sharing supers and such but also heard stories of queens getting access and becoming one colony. So far so good. I over wintered 1 by itself last year and this year it will be 2 colonies. I did build 2 long skinny screened feeding shims for emergency feed like a vivaldi board but nuc size with a quilt box overhead to vent moisture.
 
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