I don't know about that, but they will use eggs from a laying worker to try and rear a queen.
Robo, Seems like we have two different issues here.
Issue 1: Laying worker eggs. If there are laying workers, that means there has not been any open brood for quite a while. So using a drone egg from a laying worker would not matter since there were no worker eggs available anyway. I don't see that this necessarily implies anything about the ability of bees to make good decisions about which eggs to use IF
there are any worker eggs to use.
Not that it does any harm as long as they also use some worker eggs, but still......
Are you sure about that? That is part of my concern with emergency queens. So they decide to make a queen out of an old egg, but that is OK as long as they make some from 3.5 day eggs?
Issue 2: Old eggs. No I don't think old eggs are ok. But I don't think using laying worker eggs when that's all they have means they will use old eggs.
Everyone that is a proponent of emergency queens insist the bees will always pick the right age eggs. And if they occasionally don't, then what? I'm not convinced.
Yes, I could go to great effort to isolate newly laid eggs, but why do that if there is no evidence the bees are likely to make a bad decision? Do you have some experiences that suggest the bees actually will use old eggs? This is probably just my ignorance showing.
I believe it is fair to say that a lot of new beekeepers and hobbyist can't determine when there is a flow, so how can they know when to do a walk-away split even if they understand the important factors of doing splits.
If there is new white comb with eggs in it AND the bees have good stores of honey and pollen, that would be a pretty good guide to a new beekeeper.