What I do is simply wait for cold weather to set in and the bees are no longer in the supers, the fall flow has or has not happened, so I can better judge what to leave the bees for winter and I can harvest and measure what they have by the box. I simply pull boxes until I get to the cluster, estimate how many frames of bees I have and try to leave something between one and two frames of capped honey for every frame of bees. Two is my target, but I'll settle for one. Since I'm doing it by the box it never comes out a perfectly even 2:1 or even 1:1 but it will be somewhere in that range. I can take full boxes of honey and put on the light hives. I can add dry sugar if they are too light and I have no honey to give them.
By doing this I never have to drive bees out of the supers and very seldom do I have to feed at all.
Pretty interesting Michael. Down here in Florida you may never get to pull honey.