Towards the beginning of summer last year, I had caught three new Camponotus queens. They all laid eggs and were developing nicely. One colony was slower than the others and only had about 8 workers, whereas the other two had 12 and 17 respectively. I favored the slower developing colony since I liked that queen the best, but I think I overdid it and stressed them out when I tried to get them to move into a formicarium.
All the workers in my favored colony died and only the queen and several eggs were left. She killed all but one of the eggs, which has been slow to develop due to the lack of workers and nutrition. The other day, I was moving the largest colony out of their dirty test tube and noticed two ants and a pile of brood staying in the old tube. I figured, "what the heck" and put them in the refrigerator. I took the eggs out and gave it to my lonely queen, which she adopted. The remaining two workers refused to leave, so I let them sit in isolation for a three days. After they still refused to move, I chilled them and then connected their tube with my one queen. I woke up this morning hoping for the best, and it looks like they have adopted each other! My queen looks much fatter and healthier and the two workers are tending to the big pile of brood! I was worried she would not make it out of hibernation without any workers, so I feel much better now.
I guess the moral of the story is: When it doubt, adopt!