Give Now

A Moment of Science

The Royal Jelly

According to legend, King Arthur gained the crown by pulling a sword from a rock. Queen honeybees have an equally enchanting way of ascending to the throne.

According to legend, King Arthur gained the crown by pulling a sword from a rock. Queen honeybees have an equally enchanting way of ascending to the throne. Introducing…the Royal Jelly!

This special jelly is made of water, proteins, fatty acids, organic acids, vitamins and minerals. These substances are mixed with bee milk, a liquid produced by young worker bees.

When the reining queen begins to show signs of old age, worker bees select her successors from among the developing queen bee larvae.

Although all baby bees are fed royal jelly at first, queen bee larvae receive extra helpings and continue to be fed the rich food longer than regular larvae. The jelly fed to developing queens is also packed with higher concentrations of sugar and various proteins.

The results are spectacular. Thanks to their super-nutritious diet, queen bees grow up to one and a half times larger than regular bees, live forty times longer than normal bees, and lay up to two thousand eggs per day.

Inevitably, entrepreneurs have attempted to capitalize on royal jelly by creating jelly-infused dietary supplements that supposedly make people stronger and more virile. But don’t go spreading royal jelly on your toast just yet.

Although it does the trick for bees, there’s no solid proof that the stuff will make you king or queen for even a day.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science