Re: bees eating and not storing
Do you have your entrances reduced down?
Or do you have robbing screens in place?
You may be operating an all you can eat buffet for neighboring bees. I did that last year. I fed and fed.... and discovered that it wasn't being packed in.
I have a 20 quart pot and I use a 25# bag of sugar for a batch... Your right sugar goes fast.
Don't go beyond 2:1 syrup. It will crystallize in your feeders.
I'm actually planning to use fondant (purchased). I'm going to feed a little less syrup this year, and put fondant on in January if the hives seem too light. Placing the fondant over the inner cover.
Trying to think inside the box...