>Since then in my research I have decided to put a frame of brood and bees from each of the strong hives into the weak hives. I am terrified I will transfer the queen since I can never spot her.
Shake all the bees off the combs before transfer and you won't have a queen on them.
If you want to boost with bees, then shake the bees off and put them above an excluder and after an hour or so pull them to put in the other hive.
Also, learn to spot the queen:http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenspotting.htm
>Also I read that bees just starting on foundationless frames will often make more drones.
That is a commonly believed myth. Bees have a threshold for drones they will meet by one means or another. They also have a threshold for drone comb. Foundationless bees can get the drone comb more easily. But according to Collison's research they will raise the same number of drones.