Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock
I would not agree with the breed from average stock myself. How to breed better stock is very well known and proven time and time again. How to apply those methods to honey bees and avoid the problems with the sex gene is unique to the bee and a problem that prevents getting the same results as they do with other animals. I am not sure C.C. Miller or Brother Adam either one would have been aware of this distinction. They may have hit upon better success by simply widening the group they selected for breeding including more and more of the less desirable colonies in the pool. Net effect would be to breed more "average" bees due to need for more colonies in the breeding pool.
My thinking would be more along the line of still breed the best to the best which is the proven method. but in the case of honey bees it needs to be a large number of best to a large number of best. Rather than exceptional individual hives. breeding needs to be done more on an exceptional apiary basis. Obviously not every colony in an entire apiary can be the best. so there is a lot of room for less than best in that case. So is less than best being described by the old timers as average?
I have seen it suggested that you produce nucs from your worst hives. In that case it is more an issue of a short term solution to how to get the most out of your resources. why weaken a strong hive with potential of production for that year over an attempt to save a failing hive. Provided the queen that produced that colony is eliminated and the cross that produced her is prevented from happening again. I agree the individual bees should be kept for there life time. But the genetics you do not want in your apiary, and that queen produced drones. Her genes continue on through her drones. You would want to take measures to remove them as well.
All work and no play makes a happy bee.