Feeding hives is a great way to keep you hives healthy, strong, and happy. Those girls really respond well to sugar! However, there are a few guidelines to follow to get the best results. I like the division board feeders (see below picture)
I like the division board feeder because it holds more syrup than a regular jar feeder and it gives the hive immediate access to the syrup.
When to feed
Feeding is important when you need the bees to to produce wax. A hive has to consume 8-10 lbs oh honey/syrup to produce 1 lbs of wax. Feeding saves the hive a lot of energy and honey.
The hive needs food for winter. Each hive should have 40-60 lbs going into winter
You have just recently removed the bulk of their honey. Don't let you bees starve! When you remove the honey make sure to come back within a few days and give them some food.
Your hive is sickly or has a disease of some sort. Feeding a distressed or diseased hive can help really help the hive clean it out. Some brood diseases like chalk brood can be pretty much fixed with feeding.
When not to Feed
It is important not to feed your hive to much. If you constantly dump syrup into them they will become honey bound. This occurs when the hive begins storing honey or syrup in the brood chamber. It is called backfilling. The little pigs will literally fill every cell with syrup and leave the queen now room to lay. If your hive does experience backfilling you can give them more room or remove some of the frames and let the bees rob the honey out.
If you are producing honey. You do not want to feed sugar syrup to you hive when the bees are storing honey you are going to harvest. It will become (sugar honey) will be adulterated with syrup. Something that is just plain wrong. Honey should never be mixed with syrup. It compromises the flavor, texture, and health benefits