No creature illustrates this better than the bee. Surprisingly, queen bees are genetically identical to worker bees. But from the time they are tiny larvae to the day they die, they eat a different diet than the worker bees throughout their lives. this different meal plan Despite the same genetic basis, their physiology and behavioral development are completely different from worker bees. What magic food is this? It’s not broccoli! This is the aptly named substance royal jelly.
What is Royal Jelly?
Royal jelly is the protein-rich excrement from the glands of worker bees – I think it’s the bee’s version of breast milk. While all larvae are fed royal jelly for the first three days of life, the larvae selected by worker bees to become queens are bathed in royal jelly Special elongated “queen cells” throughout development. After the larval stage is complete and the queen emerges, she is fed royal jelly throughout her life.
Queen bees are 1.5 times the size of worker bees, live offspring are sexually mature (unlike worker bees who cannot mate), and behave quite differently from other bees in the hive. When a hive needs a new queen, it selects up to 10 larvae that are less than three days old and started feeding them royal jelly. The first queen to emerge will sting other developing queens through their cells, killing them before they hatch. If two or more queens hatch at the same time, they will fight to the death!
The new queen will begin her “wedding flight” about three to five days after a sunny, low-wind day emerges. She’ll find a “drone colony” – a place where male (drone) bees from other hives hang out and wait for days for the queen to mate 12-20 drones in mid-air to collect as much genetic material as she needs for a lifetime (up to 6 million sperm!).
Back in the hive, the queen’s main role is that of “chief breeder”. She will control the size of the hive, prepare more eggs for spring and summer, and slow down the laying rate in preparation for the cooler months when there is less work and less food. inside At the height of spring, the queen can lay more than 2,000 eggs a day. That’s more eggs than her own weight! The Queen is always surrounded by a group of loyal workers who constantly feed her and dispose of her waste. They also collect and distribute her queen pheromone throughout the hive Let all the inhabitants of the hive know that their queen is alive and well.
It’s amazing that such different abilities and behaviors can arise from simple food! It makes you want to take your vitamins, doesn’t it? Or maybe just a healthy dinner followed by a spoonful of royal jelly-infused raw honey.
How do beekeepers harvest royal jelly?
No wonder royal jelly is an expensive product, as its production is a painstaking process that requires close attention and precise timing. First, beekeepers create a small colony of bees without a queen. She made sure the small colony had many young bees who would act as nurse bees in the hive. Next, she inserts dummy queen bee cups into the colony (rows of plastic or wax cups sized for the bees to build queen cells on), each containing a bee egg hand-transplanted into each cup. Workers will instinctively start using Served with eggs and queen cup. Nurse bees fill their cups with royal jelly. At the perfect moment (usually between the second and fourth day of larval development), the beekeeper uses a small suction cup to remove the royal jelly from the queen bee cup. if she comes too early or too late There will not be enough royal jelly to harvest. Beekeepers working in this way can harvest about 500 grams (about 17 ounces) of royal jelly per hive in one season.
How was royal jelly used throughout history?
In cultures around the world, royal jelly has been used to promote healthy longevity. Because it is a very precious substance (very little made and not easy to harvest), its historical use has been mostly for royalty, as in bee hives. in TCM Royal Known as the “food of kings,” jelly has long been used to prolong life, enhance vitality, and prevent disease. Royal jelly is also used by Indian maharajas, who have long regarded it as the key to maintaining youthful vitality. in ancient egypt Royal jelly was given to pharaohs to promote their longevity.