But what if we are electrically heating the hive to the point that the nurse bees don’t need to provide any heat
Yessir BlueBee! That's the wacky part. I've been having to think like an artist, so bear with me. This is the difference between "City Folk" and the rest of the world. Bees are wild animals after all, and even when they're being raised in the "urban" environment, they're still actually wild. It's a factor of our wanting to have ties to the "mother earth," and a sign that no matter how civilised we think we are, we rely on nature to sustain us.
We can throw all the numbers we want at the situation, but the bees didn't ger or read that memo. In the words of a Computer scientist I can't remember the name of, "Plan everything out. If you don't plan it out, it will take three times as long. If you plan it out, it will only take twice as long..." We may have those "Big Brains," but that doesn't mean much to Mischief, my cat, or Muffy, my mother's dog.
The obvious thing to do in this situation is to remove the factor tha keeps the eggs from hatching and growing to what we want out of it, BEE STEAK! Any good Cowboy would say the same. Unfortunately the bees don't want to cooperate, so we have to adjust our thinking to agree with their Concept. I can argue with them about the brooding temperature in the hive, but they're thinking in population.
Trying to put on my bee pants, which is pretty hard since I'm actually a tall guy, that this would make sense to any good mother or nanny, but the bees see the world in different ways. The logical thing to do would be to remove the bees from the incubation. Now we're going to have to feed the larvae by hand. Doggone it, I don't know if I can get the right formula or get each and every bee in there fed right. It's a pretty sure bet I can't get the nurse bees to listen to what I'm saying about the possible benefits to not eating the eggs.
"Synthesis Reconciles." If there is a solution, then guys like you, me, and the rest of us will be able to sort it out. But in order to do it, we're going to have to learn to talk bee