I have seen them start cells around an unfertilized egg (from laying workers) but have never seen them complete the task or a cell. I think they quit once something triggers their realization that the egg is not viable.
I agree. The bees are very frustrated when they don't have a queen, but a bad layer. They try to make a queen out of anything they can, but are unable to with an unfertilized egg. If you want them to make their own queen, take a couple frames of eggs/larvae from one of your good hives and put it in that one. They are already trying to make a queen, so they will use this good larvae to create one of their own. Make sure you use a queen you like!
yes it is one of the ways to resolve the laying worker problem, add a frame of eggs, if that does not work, add another, and so on until they draw a cell. Its not a fail safe solve all, but it does sometimes clear the problem.
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