I've been reading about feeding bees for the fall and fall/pre-winter management. I've been getting alot of opinions, viewpoints, etc, and some are conflicting. I live in Central Mississippi so winters are not severe and have nine hives. My goal was to get all established and healthy this year. My bees had not built out all the comb in both brood boxes this year so based on numerous articles and opinions I put in-hive frame feeders in 7 of my 9 hives in Mid-September. The bees have filled out 70% of the comb in the boxes now and have been consuming about 1 gallon of sugar water each week. I have a couple of questions. Thanks in advance for you input/help.

1) I thought the bees would only consume sugar water if there wasn't a nectar flow or if they didn't have honey stores. Is this accurate?

2) Do you leave the feeders in the hives throughout the late fall, winter and early spring and then take them out late spring and summer?

3) Do I make sure the feeders are always topped off or just feed the bees at certain intervals?

4) We have large concentrations of small hive beetles; how do I keep them from getting in the feeder and staying out of reach of the bees?

5) I've read 1:1 sugar/water in spring and 2:1 in fall; is this accurate?

6) Is there someplace I can buy sugar in bulk versus a Sams or WalMart?

7) I'm trying to place the feeders above where I think the center mass of the bees/brood are so as they move up into the 2nd box over the winter they'll have close access to the feeder. Is this correct?