Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?
d, sounds like you have thoughtfully considered your options, and i agree with what the other posters have said.
i guess if it were me, and if i had four other strong hives, and i had access to a good queen, i would do the one frame of mostly capped brood per week, (which actually only takes two weeks from the first frame to the third), taking one frame from each of the strongest of the four hives, destroy any queen cells they make, and then introduce a new queen.
this should suppress the laying workers, and this hive will be good and strong in a month. plus i wouldn't have to worry about buying nuc equipment and getting nucs through the winter.
ps: mr. bush is michael bush who has an amazing website and books available.
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives