Finski - a few of my first year boxes were 2-deep, but only a few. Most were 3-deep (second year or older colonies) and I think with the checkerboarding and pyramiding is what really set things in motion early this year. I thought at one point that maybe I overdid it - these big colonies were consistently harder to work thatn I've seen with my bees in the past. Wow - go into a bottom deep in a 3-deep configuration, and you'll know mad bees.
Ok, so I need to answer your question a little better. I had 2 that I pulled up into 4-deep configuration, and them split them, so those are no longer a size concern. Most of the others were 3-deep configurations for much of the summer. I did keep what I thought was plenty of supers on them all summer, and pulled a lot of honey throughout - they had a lot on super space to work with all summer. I'm sure that the folk who aren't fans of ULBNs or checkerboarding would remind me that this was in part the reason why I didn't see any significant swarming, and they'd be right on that note - different discussion for a different day. **Bottom line answer for the ones concerned in this thread - 3 deep with roughly half the middle brood box in use.**
Perhaps the backfilling bahavior didn't happen as quickly this year. We've had awesome honey crops this year, but I guess it does take a while to backfill that area. I've been watching and it is happening, but I guess maybe it just takes a while to cut a large broodnest back to one box.
For whatever it's worth, I did start reducing the number of supers in Mid-august, and took the last off of most hives in Mid september. We've had an awesome goldenrod and aster flow here too. Seems to be plenty. My question in all this is the broodnest size to #lbs to store for winter ratio. I wish there was a little more concrete answer.
Finski and Mike, I guess to be hosest and cut to the chase, Russian is mixed in as part of my breeding pool. I've seen in the past how small of clusters the Russians can overwinter with. With what I've done this year, I think I've changed the game drastically. Any idea what to expect on the winter side of this experiment?