Re: two questions about comb
I have always felt that beginner beekeepers should try to stay conventional and make things easier on themselves when learning how best to manage bees and equipment. Foundationless comb building can be problematic. If you have an experienced mentor who can work with you from time to time thats one thing, but if your left alone to figure how best to approach certain situations it can be at least frustrating to a beginner. If you have straight comb to use next year on your packages then use it. I'm sure that most foundationless beekeepers on here would advise you to draw it out in between sheets of drawn foundation in order to keep things straight. You might also want to access why your one remaining hive perished before using that comb on new bees. Find a mentor Lady to assist you in person.
"Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti