I finally saw my first drone on Wednesday April 20. He made his appearance on the landing board of my busiest hive—just one day shy of a month later than last year. Although I went through the rest of my hives, he was the only fully-formed male I could find.
I did, however, find lots of drone comb filled with eggs, so I know the males are coming. Below is a piece of burr comb that had been built inside one of the feeders. It was built as drone comb—as burr comb frequently is—and each cell has a neatly placed haploid egg inside. Haploid honey bee eggs—those having only one set of chromosomes—are always destined to be male.
These signs tell me swarm season is just around the corner. Once the drones are in abundance, the mating frenzy will begin.