I will be starting off with 3 lb packages also. One medium box would be just the right size to start off with. They will be able to keep warmer in the one box after installation compared to two boxes.
I will share a huge beekeepers secret that was given to me by a 72 yr old beekeeper that had over 50 yrs experience.
I was in my third year of beekeeping when this old man brought large smallmouth bass into my taxidermy shop to be mounted. As we were talking, he says \"I see you have some bee hives out back\". I told him that this was my third year of beekeeping. I asked him if he had bees? He said he had been beekeeping his whole life.
He asked if he could look at the hives and I said yes. As we looked at the hives from about 10 ft away. I asked if he had any good advice for me. He smiled and said \"Queen Space and Timing\". He walked over to one of my four hives and bent over with his ear close to the lower corner of the hive next to the entrance and listened to the hive and then watched the bees going in and out of the hive. He did this to each of my four hives.
He came back over to me and says \"Queen Space and Timing. I asked what does that mean? He says \"to bring in lots of honey, you need to have lots of bees. Which means you must give the Queen more space to lay eggs at the right time.\" Ok.
He pointed to two of my hives. and says, \"Both of those hives are ready for a third deep box. The queen will be running out of space to lay eggs very soon. And if the Queen see's that she is running out of space, she will slow down her egg laying and she may never regain momentum again. Tomorrow you will check those two hives and if 70% or more of the brood space is occupied, then you add the third box. And then you will call me on the phone. Most beekeepers under estimate what their Queen and bees can do. And you will find that out this season. Those two hives will bring in atleast 140 lbs of honey and you might get lucky and get 200 lbs in each hive,\" And then he left.
The next day I checked those two hives and sure enough one hive was at about 70% and the other was at about 85% capacity. So I added a third deep box on each hive. That night I called the old beekeeper and told him what I found and that I added the boxes. He says to me \"you have just made two Mega Hives! There are good hives with two deep boxes, but it takes three boxes to make a Mega Hive. They will bring in honey quicker than you can take it off. And come next spring, you divide those two hives and end up with four hives.\"
Sure enough that fall, One hive ended up with just over 180 lbs of honey and the other had 207 lbs of honey. The one hive ended up filling up six medium boxes with honey. the hive was getting so tall, I had to keep taking one full super off each time I added a empty super. I was in Awe!
Oh and I did end up splitting both of those hives in the spring.
It all boils down to allowing the queen room(Queen Space) to lay as many eggs as she can and add a new box before she needs it(timing).
Thats my story of a old man that taught me how to make a Mega Hive.