This week we are chatting with Chris on the importance of the queen bee in a hive and New Zealand royal jelly; the nutritious food fed to the queen bee now turned popular supplement. We accompanied him to one of his apiaries (area with hives) where he talked us through one of his hives and showed us an example of a queen cell - where the queen bee develops and royal jelly is stored.
How Important is the Queen Bee?
As the queen bee is the only bee who lays eggs (upto 1,500 eggs per day), she plays a crucial role within the hive. If a hive has lost their queen, or believes they’ve lost their queen, they will be in disarray, becoming agitated and may swarm to set up a new colony. The worker bees will have to find a new queen as the colony will not survive without one and without her presence, an aggitated and aggressive hive is created.
"You can tell the happiness of a hive by how it sounds when you visit it. A happy hive is a quiet hive! A hive with no queen will hum so much louder than normal"
Queen bees will develop in a distinct, vertically hanging ‘queen cell’ - watch the video below too see what it looks like!
What is Royal Jelly?
Larvae inside queen cells are specifically fed a nutritious substance called royal jelly. This makes the bee develop into a queen bee (without it, the larvae would grow into a regular worker bee). The queen bee is different to the worker bees in a few important aspects; lifespan, size, morphology and role in the hive. She lives longer than any of the other bees in the colony (5 years compared to 6-8 weeks); an astounding 40 times longer than the worker bee! She is almost twice the size and doesn't have the pollen collecting attributes on her legs as she doesn't leave the hive like worker bees do.
Royal jelly is mainly made up of water, protein, sugars, and lipids. The protein, royalactin, is suggested to be the active ingredient in royal jelly responsible for the development of a queen bee. Royal Jelly is the exclusive natural source of 10H2DA (10-Hydroxy-decenoic acid) which is suggested to have a wide range of benefits including supporting hormonal balance and increasing collagen production.
"When finding it in the hive it appears quite milky and creamy, I've actually tasted it, its like a weak yoghurt, I wouldn't say it's delicious!"
How is Royal Jelly Made?
It's made inside the hive by the worker bees. As it was Autumn when we were with Chris and his hives, there wasn't much to see and harvest, but during Summer when more queen cells are produced, that is when you can find it. The queen cells are full royal jelly!
What Health Benefits may Royal Jelly have?
The use and benefits of royal jelly has a history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who would use it on their skin to keep it glowing. It has long been used as a supplement for a wide range of concerns including supporting one's reproductive health, hormonal balance, energy levels, cardiovascular health and immune system. It is also used in cosmetics and skincare due to its suggested skin-serving properties and touted anti-ageing benefits through increasing collagen production!
Research has been undertaken to understand it if has any potential in cancer treatment and easing the harmful effects of chemotherapy.
Enjoy a Special Offer on New Zealand Royal Jelly!
We offer both supplements and cosmetics utilising the nourishing benefits of royal jelly.
We are currently offering a special on our best selling royal jelly supplement - Avoca Royal Jelly 1000mg soft gel capsules -
Buy 5 get 1 Free
Made in New Zealand and using New Zealand royal jelly, it is a pure, high-quality source offering great value.
Try adding Royal Jelly to your anti-ageing skincare regime with our exclusive product
Avoca's Eye Firming Gel utilises the nourishing properties of royal jelly and marine collagen in a lightweight eye gel. Its lightweight formula maximises absorption and cucumber extract helps calm puffy eyes. Made in New Zealand using New Zealand ingredients.
Stay tuned for more Sweet Experiences with Chris.
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The Aotea Team.