Re: New to feeding bees
2 1/2 gallons is not a lot divided between 4 hives. Just keep track of the storage space in the colonies. When the colonies reach to weight, or the number of frames of food stores necessary in your area, then stop feeding. I would suggest that you reduce the entrances to the colonies while you feed, if you have not already done so.
The dead bees could be because of fighting, or it could be natural deaths that occur. Bees die every day but we don't see the dead because they are carried away from the hive or they fly away to die. That number will not be a problem to the colonies population of adults.
Once the bees have found the syrup the lemon grass oil is not needed. The bees memory will bring them back to that spot to feed.
42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic