I think a better case could be made that the LACK of enough 'Fake' bee food was a bigger contributor to the die offs. We all know bees are better off if they are in a good honey/pollen flow. But lacking that, corn syrup and sub is better than nothing.
As for the 'mysterious' part of it-no mystery. Drought(lack of good forage) and excessive mites pretty well covers it.
Wouldn't have expected anything less from PMS NEWS.
NUTRA-BEE feed supplements
That article must be the one that almost cost me my hives. I had to move out of town, it forced me to leave my hives with my friend who is a farmer but not a beekeeper. I dropped them off last fall, the colonies were strong but had very small stores. I told him he would have to feed them until winter and then again in the spring. He just let them sit and did nothing, said he read an article that said it was bad to feed them. One hive had starved and the others were bone dry and queenless when I got them back. I was heartbroken, I am just now getting them up to par. Two many people who know nothing about bees writing articles. Sugar water and corn syrup have been fed to them since they were brought over, long before CCD, mites, pesticides, etc. They never had that problem back then, are you telling me it has taken that long for sugar syrup to affect them. I blame pest and pesticides for a large part.
All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.
I know quite a few people who quit keeping bees when they died after not being fed, on the assumption it wasn't "natural" to feed them sugar.
It isn't natural to keep bees in hives, either. If you want honey, you have to manage the bees to make a large surplus, and to do that they HAVE to be in well supplied hives in the fall. If not, you will have "naturally" dead hives in the spring.
If you think about what happens in nature, the typical colony swarms about once a year (some more and some less). If the number of colonies in the world would double every year. In the long run half of those have to die to maintain a steady population (of course the population waxes and wanes with the droughts and flows etc.) For us to have anything better than a 50% survival rate we have to be doing something that isn't happening in nature. That something is feeding when the bees would have starved otherwise. Since bees put away a surplus to get through such times, and since we steal that surplus for our uses, it is only common sense that when those hard times come we feed them.