Location. Genetics. Management technique.
i also agree with the point you have previousy made david that finding locally thriving unmanaged feral or wild type colonies is a good place to start, along with applying management methodology that emulates the feral condition as closely as possible.
Why bothering at all? Skip the beekeeping part and go honey hunting in the wilds.
Can't be more natural.
Sorry for that. But management and feral in one sentence seemed contradictory to me.
Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.