Thanks, JP, that's an interesting idea and it would work, but I don't have the equipment. The boxes are in rough shape, but I'm confident I can shore them up enough to last through the winter. Then, as Kathyp suggests, we'll treat this like a cutout.
After the winter it will be easier: the boxes will be lighter, the bee population lower. (Probably a lot lower, because I'm betting they'll swarm.) My only concern is that by springtime the remaining bees will have moved up into those shaky 2nd deeps.
Here's what I plan to do:
- Find 9 scrap boards and cut them to about 2" longer than the dimensions of the brood boxes.
- Put 4 boards around each of the unglued deeps, tighten them with pipe clamps, then fasten with screws. Basically making a box around each box.
- With the 9th board I'm going to whomp my friend repeatedly on the head and tell him to take better care of his bees.