Thanks for your input— "Try thinking about maximising honey yield per acre rather than per colony." Honey yield/acre is precisely the metric I'm seeking to maximize. Pretty much. Like I indicated, stalking the ever-elusive Consensus among expert beeks is an enterprise fraught with futility. It seems like what I'd found (nearly all of it nestled between the lines) is that disease and stress tend (maybe, perhaps, sorta) to decrease with colony size up to some never-really-specified level, rather than increase as you're suggesting. As you point out, heat stress is certainly a factor that must be addressed, but one that can readily be surmounted. So what about other stressors? As Michael B. offers, "I don't think you'll get past that [100,000–150,000 bees] without doing some combines which will then dwindle back to that" (my emphasis). I think it can be reasoned that the combined colony would "seek", in the sense of water "seeking" its own level, a lower level/smaller size, both as it waxes and wanes—"dwindles back"—, if a lesser size were preferable, or less stressful in some way, to the colony-as-super-organism.
All this is assuming, naturally, that the hive design and arrangement meet the criteria mentioned in point 1. of my initial post and touched on by B.T.Sidewalk. I couldn't agree more that the main issue (and a Whole separate topic) is that honey/acre is first and foremost a matter of forage per acre-and-season. More accurately, wouldn't it be proportional to the product of (not sum of) (1.) forage compassed by a given radius out from the hive/s times (2.) the total number of hours that forage is available to the bees over the foraging season, times the number of bees available to gather and process this aggregate forage?
My by-no-means-unique challenge is to find a way to cultivate the few acres I have to work with in order to best utilize the massive —albeit short-lived— flood of tulip poplar (tulipfera liriodendron) nectar soon to arrive. This is the key part of the "resource parameters" mentioned in the first post.