Re: Using an observation hive to raise queens. Will this work?
Yes it would work.
As a schoolboy I built myself a one frame observation hive in the school woodwork shop. It had a low watt lightbulb in a compartment underneath to assist with heating. I had already split a nuc off my one hive and let them raise a queen to put into the observation hive, but with my poor beekeeping skills, in the chaos of transfering the bees to the observation hive I killed the queen. But I set it up anyway queenless, and spent the next few weeks watching in fascination as they raised one solitary queen cell, which hatched, went on to mate and then started laying eggs. The day I saw the first eggs I was ecstatic!
Depending on what quality queens you need, the temperature they are raised at is important. Your hive will struggle to maintain correct temperature throughout, but long as there are plenty of bees in there, no reason why you could not end up with two or three reasonable cells. There may also be some small, ratty cells, that you may choose to discard. If you get them to raise too many cells, they will all be less well cared for. The smaller the number, the better they will be looked after.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).