Iv'e been trying to reduce my hive, after trying to about a month ago. I managed to get 1 box off (Ideal's) but, as they were still making combe, I decided that they were still producing.
Yesterday lunchtime I went back, and the 2 top boxes were devoid of bee's, so they came off. They were in the same comdition as I left them a month ago. The next box had plenty of bee's, so I placed an excluder under it, and today I removed another box. I noticed that they had made combe on the bottom of the excluder overnight. That suggests they are still producing ??
They are now down to 4 boxes, from 8 at the peak(April) and are quite active when the sun is out, and are coming back loaded, the advantage of being in suburbs.
Mardak, I don't think you will have to feed them, as long as you can see them returning with their back legs loaded. Mine are on to something pale yellow at the moment.
I would only be doing the "must do " stuff at present, in and out quickly on a calm day, around the middle of the day. No snooping to justify your whim !
Colin in Melbourne