Thank you both. What I didn't know was that the bees would move down. I'm not in a hurry. Out of curiosity though, how long might this process take?
We only have room for about a dozen hives in our fenced bee yard, but it took two seasons to fully convert all of them, probably could've done it in one season but we didn't really know what we were doing
This is what we did;
IMO; Spring time is an excellent time to begin the conversion because bees are 'usually in the top (s) of whatever boxes are above, leaving bottom boxes relatively empty. You're right that 're-using' comb from deep frames that has wire embedded is problematic at best. We didnt try to save it. We just cut the wires, melted the 'cut' portions down (for later candle making) and installed the larger portions into medium frames, and tried not to think about those that were sacrificed
. Darn wires
We also held several of the 'empty' Deep brood frames aside to place inside some swarm traps. A single Deep with several "old" brood frames is very attractive to swarms…so we keep a few around.
Other than Swarm Traps, we use Deeps almost exclusively for our Vent/Feed/Insulation boxes on all hives. One can place a lot of Sugar, syrup, or insulation inside - or provide a substantial amount of relatively controlled ventilation with a single Deep placed above the inner cover.