Looking for some advice here.
Back on May 22nd I split a strong hive that was making swarm preps. I divided the frames with swarm cells into two 10 frame deeps and moved them to another part of the yard. I left the main hive intact and in place. The swarm was prevented and that hive is doing very well.
I stayed out of both splits until June 22, which should have been plenty of time to have laying queens.
On June 22, split one had eggs and young larva in a very nice pattern. I did not look for the queen, but she is definitely in there. That hive is now booming and is covering 8-10 frames and needs more space.
Split 2 had no eggs on June 22 so I assumed a queen failure and added another 2 frames of eggs/larva to give them another chance. On July 3, I went into split 2 to check on their progress. Here's where it gets weird. There were no emergency queen cells on the donor frames, however I found an empty emergency queen cell on another frame. The side of the cell was torn open and it was empty. There were now some eggs, but the pattern was spotty. I also saw the queen. She appears to be a dink. Her wings are tattered/shredded on the ends. I doubt she could fly. I let it go hoping she was just getting going and was damaged on her final mating flight.
I went back in yesterday and confirmed the worst. She is laying very poorly and a lot of drone. At the time I expected the new queens to be out on mating flights, we had some awful weather with numerous thunderstorms daily. I feared for the new queens. I'm wondering if I lost the original queen to bad weather.
So here's where I am: The math doesn't quite add up for this split 2 queen, and I don't know why. Not a big deal, since it doesn't matter now. My dilemma is, at this late stage, do I pinch the dink and:
A) Order a new queen
B) Give them one last chance with a couple frames of eggs.
C) Combine them with the other split.
I'm leaning toward option C. That gives the queen in the strong split more room to lay. It turns a weak split and a strong split into a very strong colony. Finally it eliminates the risk of possibly taking a weak hive into winter. Were heading into dearth now.
I think I've answered my own question, but would like the opinion of others.