Two of my hives were having issues last week. One had a queen but only 200 or so workers. The hive next to it is very strong with lots of bees, but there was no queen. No brood whatsoever. We watched the last few drones hatch out on the day of the inspection. There was one emergency queen cell that we didn't see until we broke it because it was drawn between two frames.
We used the newspaper method to combine the hives, but the queenless hive never bothered to chew through the paper. So today I caught the queen and put her, along with a few attendants, in a queen cage and put her in the queenless hive. We then went through the second box to see what the stores looked like.
Surprise, surprise we found a very fresh looking open queen cell and TONS of brand new eggs. Most cells only had one egg, but there were a some with two or three eggs and one on top of pollen.
I retrieved the queen and rearranged the hive to operate as a two queen hive using queen excluders and a spacer to keep them apart while sharing workers and resources. I plan on leaving them this way long enough to see what becomes of the brood in the lower boxes. If it's all drones, I am safe in assuming I have a laying worker, right?
Did I handle this right? Does anyone have any suggestions I have not thought of?