I've got a 2017 queen (might be a 2016 autumn queen), Callie, on her third summer that has been my strongest hive every year and very gentle. Due to my work schedule I am planning to set up a cell starter nuc on the 21st and graft from Callie on the 22nd Since Callie's hive is the strongest, I was also going to use it as the cell builder. I've been culling all the drone comb from Callie's hive to cut down on the chance of inbreeding.
But I have seen something the concerns me. Every week for the last three weeks there is a spot on frame #3 that has had a single queen cup and it has had a larva in it with lots of royal jelly. Just one cell, always the same frame, same spot. I've peeled it off to the foundation, and they just rebuilt in the same spot. I have not ever noticed rebuilding in the same spot over and over before - have any of you ever observed that?
Our build up here has been slow due to a turbulent cold spring, our last snow storm was just three weeks ago. I wasn't even seeing drones until recently. Still, I'd like to replace Callie with a daughter, and then overwinter several nucs Palmer style with other daughters to have queens for next year. I suck at grafting and I don't have the resources for more than 6 mating hives so I'd really like to get two rounds of a dozen grafts each time from Callie, hoping half take.
Thoughts? Could culling all Callie's drones trigger supercedure? How suddenly might she fail from laying up nearly full frames, and do the bees sense that? Do I keep knocking down the supersedure? Let it happen? If I let it happen I can can't use Callie's hive as the cell builder since the superseding queen will kill the grafts. If I do make it the cell builder so they tend to the grafts, will they stop rebuilding the supersedure cell?