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Long story short - my plan this year is to split hives in the spring into double nuc boxes, and stack them as high as they need to go - and overwinter them in 2 or 3 stories.

No honey production, just get them to draw out all new foundation, and strong enough to overwinter.

What do you guys think of my plan? I probably should have asked this before I built my boxes, but here we are.

Thanks.
 

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I wonder if it might be some advantage to delay the early splitting. That would be earlier than necessary to get splits up to wintering strength. If you waited a bit you could split into three. There can be some strategy in letting a colony make some honey and keep pulling drawn frames from them a couple at a time as swarm control and to go into nucs. The bigger hive is more efficient at raising brood than two splits.

My limited experience with the 4 frame nucs is that when given a queen and 4 mixed drawn frames at the end of June will fill three boxes by fall and with very little feeding. If they have to make their own queen they dont do so well. You have a much longer season than I have so my advice wont translate directly.

You dont say whether you will buy queens, raise some queens, or just do walkaway splits. Lots of different ways to skin a cat.
 

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Your plan sounds fine to me, with a few precautions. I do the double-nuc 4x4 setup as part of my operation. They've been successful for me and have overwintered just fine in 2 or 3 stories. The nucs build up really well, and it seems that they also draw comb more readily. They will swarm, like any hive, if the conditions are right; but you can keep adding boxes upwards, though there must be a point at which the queen pheromone becomes too weak at one end of the tower, which could lead to queen cell building. I think the narrow boxes help send the pheromone upward, but still there must be a practical limit in terms of colony effectiveness.

One of the reasons for the double nuc set-up is to create resources to use to either make more splits, or to distribute frames of brood to other colonies. It's important to keep an eye on how full the nuc colony is. In fact, today I have to remove a few frames from some of the nucs to create more room for the queen to lay. I have a few hives whose sole purpose is to be split this season. I will use frames from the nucs to help make up these splits.

Another reason for the double nuc is to re-organize hives that may be weaker into a different configuration that will create a useful situation. Like you, I made a split into a double nuc set-up last week, mainly because it was convenient with the equipment I had with me. That's the first time I've done it that way--I've always had queens ready or they were made from nucs that I bought. The nucs have fewer resources than a regular hive, so I think because the queen rearing process takes a long time--almost fifty days from egg to queen to new bees--you would have to add brood, both capped and open, to sustain the 4-frame nuc. I'll see how these go and may put them into other configurations with ready queens.

Remember that when you open the hives, to keep the top close on the one your not working with. I use a small piece of wood that goes over the hole in the inner cover. If both hives are open there can apparently be attacks or the queens can even get after each other.

If you haven't already, watch Michael Palmers videos on this system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgAMnIMlk1E&list=PLKKeOrM0rs3VnnNLp8872fbltOvWE8BI0
 
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