As you can see by the lower picture, the hives have consumed the majority of the pollen patties placed earlier and now have a large quantity of drone brood. I did check a few and none are close to emerging which is no surprise, but the fact that they are capped cells means that they will be mature enough for queens grafted now.
This particular hive had a frame marked with the green top bar to indicate that it had a frame specifically to encourage the bees to raise drones. Since I run all medium frames and drone frames aren’t available in medium, I started attaching a half sheet of Pierco to the frame, letting the bees draw out the other half. In most cases this results in a half frame of drone brood. You can make out the dividing line between worker and drone brood near the top of the first picture.
I checked several hives in my two mating yards and while I only saw a single adult drone, most hives had similar amounts of capped drone cells.
So this Monday we finally began grafting our first batch of larvae. It’s about a week and a half behind schedule.