I had been planning to winter my momma hive in 3 eight frame mediums. It was bursting at the seams most of the summer but after losing a swarm or two and a bad case of fall varroa mites, the population was down a bit. I closed the hive up the end of October, moving all the brood into the bottom box, but they seemed a bit short on stores so I have continued to feed heavily as it has been unseasonably warm.
It was 76 degrees here yesterday so I decided to do a check. The queen has already moved up and there was brood on two frames in the middle box, and while the honey/pollen stores have improved, I still had at least 6-7 frames scattered among the 3 boxes that were either not drawn out or had no stores in them.
So I decided to take them down to two full boxes instead of 3 boxes with empty frames in the 1 and 8 position. There is still some empty space here and there. In terms of population, I didn't have any trouble fitting them all into the 2 boxes. The 8 frames I took off didn't have too many bees on them anyway.
My thinking was they would do better with less space to have to keep warm, though in terms of "moving up" over the winter, there won't be any place to move up to, except the queen can move the brood up from the lower to the upper box as she did over the last 3 weeks, if she wants (I also have a slatted bottom rack on.) I think winter is finally going to get here we are supposed to have a high of 40 and low of 29 on Thanksgiving, but back into the 60s by the weekend.