I made a mistake, what to do now?
I don't mind learning by trial and error, but I'm not sure what to do here. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to split a 'hot hive' using the 'divide and conquer' method. I left both stacks alone for a couple of weeks and I fear that I did more harm than good. Now I have a medium strength hive with what appears to be a weak or old queen that has some brood, pollen and honey and a crap load of bees. I would like for them to make a new queen and they do have some queen cells, so I'm still crossing my fingers. The other hive has a tiny bit of honey, no brood, no queen or queen cells and just a few bees. I assume the bees either left or returned to the home hive. What I do have in there is some gorgeous drawn comb and it is even foundationless, but all empty. I have a couple of new nucs that are ready for supers. Should I give them the drawn comb from the empty hive? What of the few bees that are left in there? I'm sad I feel like I may have lost bees and honey, but hopefully if the honey was robbed, it at least stayed in my bee yard. Good learning experience though, I guess. My nucs are quite strong, maybe I could separate with newspaper so they accept the comb? I don't know. Thanks in advance.
Re: I made a mistake, what to do now?
This is what nucs are for.
Check very carefully to make sure you don't have a queen who is not laying yet in the "queenless" hive, it can take a few weeks for her to get cranking. If there is, you will have to decide what to do, but if there is no queen, do a newspaper combine with the nuc -- put the frames from a nuc into a deep, put the newspaper between that and the weak hive, and they will figure it out.
If you do have a queen who is just starting to lay, take a frame of capped brood, preferably with some bees emerging, from your strong hive, it will boost the week one up quite a bit. A frame of eggs won't hurt, either.
Drawn comb is wonderful stuff, it will really give that weak hive a hand up. If you use drawn comb (at least one, anyway) when collecting swarms, the queen will usually lay it full in a couple days.