I did a full inspection (first of the season) at home today. Putting the 1:1 feed and pollen patties on 10 days ago has paid off – the increase in brood is amazing.
When I put the feed on, there was about half a frame of brood in the hives, today there are 7 frames or so in each hive. There are a few drones on the comb, and a small amount of drone brood, but nothing like the amount needed in order to start queen rearing.
Drones take approx 37 – 38 days from the egg being laid to reach sexual maturity, so it is fairly obvious that there is no point in starting a batch of queen rearing until next month, when there should be enough mature drones in order for the queens to get mated.
One good thing is that swarm preparations are not likely to take place for a couple of weeks, as the bees know there is no point with there not being enough drones about to ensure successful mating of virgin queens.
So far then, things look to be good on the build-up front, which is good as I need strong colonies for queen rearing.