Greetings all. I'm another newbie beekeeper in search of wisdom. My wife and I have two hives that we started as nucs last spring. We are currently using standard size foundation in deep boxes. Each hive is composed of two deep boxes, although one hive appears to be stronger and more active than the other. I fed them both some bee candy a few weeks ago, and the strong hive didn't touch it. The weaker hive destroyed the candy in less than a week, so I gave them another block of candy shortly thereafter. Yesterday was up to 60 degrees, and there was a lot of activity around both hives. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I think both might actually make it through the winter until spring.
A few weeks ago I started reading Michael Bush's website and have gotten most of the way through his first book, and am intrigued by the natural size foundation idea, and raising bees that don't require treatments. I have a few questions related to these topics.
If I plan to feed my bees with their own honey (after reading that sugar water has a PH that is conducive to pests, I want to stay away from it if at all possible), should my honey super be the same size as my hive bodies? i.e. should I use another deep body as my honey super? Or does putting a smaller frame of honey in the hive not create problems?
If I am going to try to regress my hives to 4.9mm foundation (was looking at the Mann Lake pf-100's), what is the best way to do this with an existing hive? I assume I should not be taking out any frames that have eggs/brood in them; If that's the case, if during my first spring inspection there are no frames that are vacant, should I just add another deep body with the 4.9mm foundation? Or do I steal honey frames and insert new 4.9 frames in the center? One thought I had was to put a new box of 4.9 foundation on the bottom of my hives, and use a queen excluder to ensure the queen stays in this box to lay in it. As the brood develops and emerges from the old frames in the boxes above, I could pull them out and insert the new frames in their places. And by default I would assume the old boxes would be used to store just honey until I removed the excluder. Any thoughts/opinions on this idea?
Thank you in advance to anyone who has any suggestions.