This story starts with a new package in early April. I added a second deep in early May, then they swarmed the first week in June. Then they swarmed twice more over the next 3 weeks. (Hive was never crowded. Go figure).
I managed to catch and hive the 3rd swarm, and it built up nicely with a well mated queen.
Meanwhile, the original hive did not produce a new queen from the 3 capped queen cells left behind after swarm number 3. Checked this box in early July, and found laying workers.
After another week, I decided on an experiment I never saw mentioned.
Moved the captured swarm box back to the original package location. (lost a few foragers in the process, oh well.)
Took the laying worker hive and placed it in top, with a screen bottom board between the 2 hives. Positioned the top hive entrance facing opposite the queen right hive entrance.
After 10 days I removed the screen bottom board separating the hives. They were fine with this instant merge.
I pulled frames from the laying work hive, and found only capped drone brood, no larva or eggs anywhere. Counting back 10 days, it seems that the laying workers stopped laying when I did the merge. Could the queen phermones have caused this?