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Royal jelly is a nutritious jelly produced by worker bees. It is fed to larvae worker bees and drones for the first three days of their lives to stimulate growth. Larvae that are fed royal jelly for a prolonged period of time grow up to be queen bees. In fact, the queen eats exclusively royal jelly throughout her life. Royal jelly is a food product. It contains calories due to its protein, carbohydrate, and fatty acid content.


Royal jelly is a milky white secretion from the glands in the heads of worker bees. It is then fed to all bee larvae, regardless of sex or caste. After three days, the other larvae not chosen to be queen are not fed with royal jelly anymore. However, the queen larvae continue to be fed this special concoction throughout their development. In other words, it acts as the principal source of food for the colony’s incoming queen.

It is harvested by humans by stimulating colonies with movable frame hives to produce queen bees. Royal jelly is collected from each individual queen cell or honeycomb. This is done when the queen larvae are about four days old. It is collected from queen cells because these are the only cells with large amounts of royal jelly deposits. When royal jelly is fed to other larvae, it is fed directly to them. They then consume it immediately as it is produced. On the other hand, the cells of queen larvae are “stocked” with royal jelly much faster than the larvae can consume it.

A well-managed hive during a season of five to six months can produce approximately 500 grams of this precious substance. Since the product is perishable, producers must have immediate access to proper cold storage.

Royal jelly typically contains around 60-70 percent water. It has proteins, sugar, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, salts, and 17 different amino acids. Take note that this includes the 8 essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce by itself. It also possesses trace minerals, some enzymes, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C.

A cell full of royal jelly.jpg

A cell full of royal jelly


Queen's House