Hello..I'll take a stab at some of your concerns and I'm sure others will follow suit. As far as package orders are concerned, yes its on a first come, first served basis which means that most (not all) will sell out early in the year. Some northern beeks will chime in on their hiving packages tricks in bad weather. I really dont have to worry about that too bad where I'm at. As far as feeding syrup, bees will store it,feed it, and eat it however it will never be turned into honey-its still syrup. Many beeks, myself included, feed 2:1 in the Fall for insurance that they will have enough to overwinter on and again in the Spring 1:1 to stimulate brood rearing. I feed until they have capped stores either prior to a flow,during a dearth, or for winter prep. How much depends on a lot of different variables.