I seem to be in a minority of one when it comes to my position on ferals. I am still at odds with all of the posters on the NBN forum at this thread.
Personally, I think if you take the view that all bees are 'wild' and beekeeping itself is not natural for them, and if you keep bees that have been produced by mans' design rather than what mother nature has allowed to evolve in their local climate and flora, then it becomes clear to me which is better to propagate from. Taking a feral colony with it's queen and hence it's genetics is for me a desireable tactic to breed from and allow to repopulate other feral niches. Most ferals are runaway swarms from beekeepers anyway, managed bees originating from who knows where. These bees may have been previoulsy treated with acaricides, anti-biotics etc. In other words bees propped up by pharmacauticals and genetically weak! Are these the bees we should be using or true feral stock that have been known to exist for a number of years untreated and obviously suited to the local environment. If we increase from these true ferals and allow them to swarm and take up these feral niches, we are not commiting a 'wildlife crime' as one poster put it but rather a service to honeybees in the long run. I honestly think that some people can not see past the issue of 'disturbing nature'. Nature has already been greatly disturbed by the fact that we are keeping the bees partly for our own ends. If we accept the fact that this is the reality of the situation then my proposed using of feral genetics to bolster the feral genetics as well as my own stocks is not only desirable but indeed worthy. Rant over!