What really stumped me is that all the books I've read suggest that one cannot expect a honey harvest in their first year.

That is not true if you start otherwise.

When I started my beekeeping, I bought swarms. I put 2-3 swarm together so I got 4 kg bees. This size colony were able gather 40 kg honey. 6 kg bees gathered 60 kg honey. - But let's be honest, during my first 3 year I got nothing. I took another start with Lanstroth hives.

If I put only 2 kg bees into hive= one box langstroth hive, that was not able gather surpluss honey.

Here is the point. If you start with too small start, colony spend it's honey to raise it's colony.

If you leave 2 box honey over winter, you will loose 30 kg honey. If you take that away and feed with sugar, your yield will be 100% bigger.

Whewn I got non swarming race (Caucasian) after that I started to get good yields.

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But of course, you should first learn to play with big hives. They swarm easily with beginners.