Well, my first few batches of Cordovan Italian queen cells, raised from SunKist Cordovan mothers, were ripening, so I began to carefully harvest all the earlier crop of marked, mated and laying queens and place them in cages to be cared for by a nuc of nurse bees until I further decide their fate.
As I harvested these resident queens I replaced them with nice ripe queen cells (within a few days of emergence). It is now about five days later, most of those cells have emerged and the new virgin queens are looking quite gorgeous. Today, as I checked a few nucs that had been given slightly younger cells, to see how they'd fared, I observed that three of them had their cultured cells torn down (uh oh). After very careful further investigation, I found that two of the three had tiny little virgin queens and the third one had the largest mated/laying queen I've seen yet this season. Perhaps some of these are AHB usurpation queens or queens that I'd somehow missed when I removed the resident queens a few days earlier. Fortunately I had another batch of queen cells ready to plant. After removing these other queens I replanted new cells, and in five more days I'll check them to be sure they emerged and are doing well.