Is it true that in order rear high quality queens your cell starter/builder has to be be chock full of young bees (5-15 days old)? What is your experience with this? Have you experienced field bees producing high quality queens?
I've have read two conflicting sides to this (one from a very successful Queen producer and another from a well known scientist):
For one, in the book Better Queens, Jay Smith says that old bees do make good nurse bees and that young bees (<10 days old) make poor nurses. Furthermore, he believes that field bees can be retrained to be good nurses and that their milk glands drying up is erroneous.
For two, in an article by Susan Cobey I read that "A high population of young nurse bees, 5-10 days old with well developed hypopharyngeal glands, is required to rear high quality queens. As the bees age these glands atrophy. The quality of the cells will diminish if this age group is not maintained regardless of colony strength."
I suppose it would take a few years to find this out for oneself. I ask because I am curious, and too green to have an opinion, if one really has to expend the effort to obtain young bees to rear high quality queens.