There is a commercial beekeeper one hour north of me (this is in northern Alberta, Canada) that runs 2000 double queen hives…and progressing up to the final honey pull, all…I mean all…of his 2000 colonies are 7 supers high. He…and his wife who rears all their own queens… are exquisite beekeepers…and far from lazy beekeepers…it’s a Hurculean task. The area that they live in has extractable honeyflows that are spread over only 10 weeks…but the flows are intense and those large field forces need a lot of surface area within the hive to spread a thin layer of nectar for curing. After the crop is in, they focus on winter preparation. Here is a photo of one of their trucks bringing back spring hives from their wintering grounds 1100 kms away to the west. They have to cross the Rocky Mountain range and several other ranges to get to a more moderate maritime wintering area…in the background is Mount Robson…the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
This area (referred to as the Peace River Country) produced so much honey at it’s peak that Billy Bee…Canada’s largest honey packer…built a warehouse along a railway siding in the area to solely rail the high quality honey back to eastern Canada…3000 kms away. Empty drums were brought back into the area in the returning empty boxcars. There were many top notch beekeepers in the area that stacked up those hives…and the hives were not only filled to the top with honey several times a summer, they were filled to the top with bees also.
So I think there should be a distinction made here between the space requirements of nectar storage and accompanying bees…and the location on the earth that the beekeeper has his operation. But your comments may be “right on” for your area…I’m not one to say.
Here is a photo that accurately reflects the equipment situation…the standard Flowhive (8 frame Langstroth) that appears to be suitable for you in your area versus a traditional 2 queen hive setup with the wider 10 frame full depth Langstroths used in my area.
I was always curious as to why Flowhive designed their equipment the way they did…but it must be because of numerous small flows throughout the year that justify less equipment. Are there Australian beekeepers out there that get larger flows that would at least justify going to a 10 frame Langstroth configuration with Flowhive frames? Or is the flow potential of areas very similar?