Re: Fall / Pre-Winter --> Feeding
Bees are unlikely to take liquid syrup below about 50 degrees, so you may not be able to feed syrup all winter, depending on the weather, of course.
Generally, 1:1 is fed when you expect the bees to use it immediately, as in raising brood in the spring. 2:1 is generally fed when you expect the bees to store it as a faux honey. On the other hand, Michael Bush and some others feed 5:3 anytime they feed.
Sugar is available cheaper than big box stores if you can handle pallet "totes" or truckload quantities. In some locations you may be able to find nearby industrial/commercial users of sugar/HFCS that buy in railcars or truckloads and will resell in smaller quantities.
If it is too cold to feed syrup, dry granulated sugar is one option. More on that here:
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft