Kathy, so how many times have you combined a hive and lost the queen?
I've combined hundreds of colonies this way, about 10 just last week. It's part of the nature of the business when your queen rearing, ripping out queens, building nucs. I come across laying workers all the time after thinking a couple more weeks were needed and getting busy with something else.
The only story I ever heard about someone losing a queen was the "recent" guy who had three deeps of laying worker bees and then introducing a five frame nuc into the situation. (Introducing 5 frames of bees into a well defended colony could almost forcast the impending doom.) Now, all of a sudden, without hearing one peep of "losing queens" by combing laying worker colonies in more than 5 years of discussions, seems another urban legend is born and this repeated "lost hive" will be making it's rounds for years to come.
I combine all the time. I use newspaper, spray the bees down, smoke the crap out of them. By the time they clean themselves up, the smoke clears, and they eat through the paper, ....I have never lost a queen in this manner.
"Shaking bees" were suggested for years due the simple, yet wrong assumption that laying workers could not fly. However this is.....wrong! And to think that the guy losing a queen combining would not of lost the same queen if he would of shaken the many laying workers from three deeps, and had them all bumrush the next colony over (a five frame nuc). I think the same results would of happened.
I see no reason to shake the bees off comb when allowing the expanded queenright hive to utilize this area for expansion, especially with all the new (introduced) bees, seems the way to go.
And if you were going to combine a 5 frame nuc to three deeps of laying worker bees, then utilize the beekeeping equipment that has been around for years such as a push in queen cage. Then you can come back and free the queen after a few days. ;)
Books have always suggested combining weak colonies at the end of the year. The key is that your combining a weak colony with a stronger. But I have never read that you should not combine colonies due to queen loss. But now it seems to be a problem. Hmmmmm.