Waiting to feed can cause a couple problems:
- As the weather starts to cool the bees become more reluctant to take feed. The risk of not having enough food in the hive becomes greater.
- Whenever bees are fed, it is considered a nectar flow. A nectar flow encourages the queen to lay eggs and make more brood. Feeding late will keep brood in the hive for another month after the feeding stops. If a beekeeper feeds into mid October to early November, brood may be in the hive into December. The colony will have to eat more of their winter stores to feed the brood and keep it warm. This increased honey consumption can lead to colony starvation in late winter.
Fall feeding is heavy syrup or 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, or feed ProSweet syrup. Feeding heavy syrup the bees have to take it down and dehumidify to turn it into honey. The advantage of ProSweet is the bees don't have to turn it into honey, the bees take it down and store it in the frames and they are done.
Adding ProHealth or some other equivalent to any syrup will also help keep down Nosema spores in the bees gut. Nosema is a stress disease that bees can get in late winter and can kill a colony. It is recommended that all colonies are fed two gallons of treated syrup in the fall.