I set up my double-queen hive on March 16. I wish I’d counted the frames of brood in each first for comparison’s sake, but based on memory they each had about 4 deep frames of brood and 3 medium. When I combined them, I placed a medium super over the queen excluder which had 7 drawn but empty frames and 3 partial frames of uncapped honey.
I peeked at the honey super around March 22 and was surprised to find honey in all 10 frames. They weren’t completely filled and none were capped yet, but it seemed a significant increase in just 8 days.
The big surprise was in checking the brood boxes. In the first half, which was a fairly weak hive going into winter and one I was concerned about this spring, there were 5 deep frames of brood and 7 medium and since one wall was sheltered from weather, the queen was laying all the way to the end frame.
The other half was similarly populated, with 8 medium frames of brood.
Inspecting presented a logistical challenge. After removing the honey super, I needed to open one side of the hive at a time, while keeping the queens isolated to their sides. I had a half migratory cover ready, smoked the bees down, then quickly removed the excluder and put on the half cover. It worked pretty well.
After the inspection was finished, I added another honey super to provide sufficient space.
Things I’d wish I’d done:
If I set up another double-queen hive, I’ll want to attach the bottom boards together. It was challenging to get them perfectly level, and even now there is a little space, but not enough to allow queens to crawl through. But the biggest reason is the bottom boards slide on the stand a bit when nudged, which is inevitable when inspecting. I kept having to put them back in place.
It’s too late to put their bottom boards together, but I am going to drive a nail in at the outer edges to keep them from moving during inspections.