Thank you both for your detailed and helpful responses. While I don't yet know enough to wade into the queen cell discussion, I've seen enough over the last year-and-a-half to appreciate that colony-level decisions are sometimes mysterious and often do not look 'textbook'. It has sought to remind me repeatedly that there are quite a lot of facets one must evaluate what is before you by in order to accurately predict what is likely to happen next.
Thank you both again for your input- I really do appreciate it.
Have a great weekend.