Royal jelly and other substances from the hive
Products from beehives have been consumed by civilizations since ancient times, but their properties have only been recognized for a few decades.
This wonderful food gives the queen 40 times more longevity and surprising productivity.
Royal Jelly: It is a substance secreted by the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of worker bees to exclusively feed the one among them who will become the queen. This wonderful foodstuff gives the queen a lifespan 40 times longer and a surprising level of productivity. The extremely rapid growth of the queen bee larva, and her exceptional longevity very early on aroused the curiosity of those who observed it. The key to the mystery lies in a pearlescent jelly on which the queen bee is exclusively fed, from the time she is in her larva state.
It is also used as food for all the larvae in the colony, but only those destined to be queen receive it for the whole of their lives. This substance secreted by the worker bees was named, because of its use, Royal Jelly or “bee milk.” It has a sweet and acidic taste and a gelatinous consistency.
Royal Jelly contains a high proportion of water, but also sugars, proteins, lipids, minerals and vitamins, as well as a large number of substances such as 10-HDA fatty acids (10-hydroxy-decenoic acid) and 10-H2DA (10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid).
The major ingredient is 2.5% apalbumin-1 in Arkoroyal® Royal Jelly. It is beneficial for bees thanks to its nutritional and antibacterial properties.
Royal Jelly contains at least 100 times more apalbumin than honey. Fed exclusively on honey, a larva becomes a bee. On the other hand, the larva, fed with Royal Jelly, becomes the queen and will live 40 times longer than its counterparts.
The 10-HDA and apalbumin natural content is a sign of Royal Jelly's quality.
If Royal Jelly was already consumed in all ancient civilizations, its properties have been identified for only a few decades.
Etymologically from the Greek “pro” = before and “polis” = town.
Use of this substance goes back 2,300 years and its major significance is it richness in flavonoids (a family of polyphenols).
The resinous substance is collected by worker bees from various plants or the bark of damaged trees, when nectar and pollen are less abundant.
Green Propolis is produced by bees that use “field rosemary”, Baccharis dracunculifolia DC, a common species in Brazil. Its composition is complementary to the brown propolis and allows to maintain the hygiene of the hive.
Brown Propolis usually comes from European poplar buds. It is recognized as the “natural shield” of the hive.
The anti-bacterial activity of propolis also helps keep the hive healthy. As such, propolis is known as the hive's “natural shield.”.
It is used to coat and secure the interior walls of the hive, strengthen its structure and close the openings of the hive. It protects the “home” of bees from external aggression.
Liquid and sweet, unctuous and fragrant, honey’s special qualities have been well known for millennia.
Honey is produced in the aero-digestive tract of bees from the nectar of flowers, which they gather, transform, combine with specific substances of their own and store in the wax cells that make up the hive.
Honey feeds the bees and is stored in the hive to use when food is scarce.
Honey is also a complex substance made up of more than 180 elements.
It is mainly composed of sugars, the most important being fructose (38%) and glucose (31%), two simple sugars that require no digestion before absorption and are easily and directly assimilated by the body. In addition, there is a wide variety of minor components, including phenolic acids and flavonoids, glucose oxidase and catalase enzymes, ascorbic acid, carotenoids, organic acids, amino acids, proteins and α-tocopherol and more than 30 mineral elements (calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, chlorine etc.).
To produce a 500 g jar of honey, bees must make more than 17,000 journeys and visit 8,700,000 flowers.
It is a shrub of New Zealand and Southeast Australia origin. Its leaves are often infused with tea, which is why it is called the “New Zealand Tea Tree”. In addition to its aesthetic value, this plant has the reputation of being a source of mono-floral honey with multiple beneficial properties, and is commonly known as “healing honey”.
From the Greek « palé », meaning flour or dust, pollen is the male seed produced by the stamens of the flowers.
Pollen harvested by bees is said to be entomophilous because it is larger and heavier than the anemophilous pollen carried by the wind.
Entomophilous pollen characterises 70% of plant species and this is why the bee is essential for pollination.
Hive foragers can bring up to 50,000 balls of pollen per day (1 bee=10 flights/day = 200 flowers), or 400g, but only 20% will be harvested by the beekeeper, the rest being intended for their feeding.
By foraging the flowers to extract the nectar they transform into honey, the bees accumulate pollen on their hind legs. They form small balls and bring them back to the hive to use it as food.
Pollen is the unique source of protein in the hive, making it an indispensable food for the colony. It is also called the “bee bread”.
The pollen is different for each flower but the bee selects only 4 to 7 floral species, each one recognizable by the color of the pollen balls. Regardless of the species, it contains on average: 30-50% carbohydrates, 1-10% lipids, 14-30% proteins and 5% vitamins and minerals.
Pollen strengthens the immune system and brings vitality and energy to the body through its composition.
The Egyptians spoke of pollen as a “life-giving dust”.