Royal Jelly is secreted from honey bees, and is a different substance than the one that is used to produce honey. It is a type of secretion from the bee, and is used by honey bees in order to feed their larvae. Young workers produce the Royal Jelly from their hypo-pharyngeal glands in their heads, and help to feed all of the young larvae in the bee colony.
In the colonies, the queen bee chooses to give some of the larvae additional nutrition, and will decree that certain groups of larva will receive only Royal Jelly as their food source for the first four days of its growth.
The larvae that receive the extra exclusive Royal Jelly will grow into queens, and will thus develop the ovaries that they need in order to lay eggs once they become fully grown. Although all larvae receive the jelly for nutritional purposes, adult bees never consume it.
When humans go to harvest Royal Jelly they head to colonies that have movable frame hives so as to promote the development of queen bees. Humans stimulate the colonies and collect the Royal Jelly only from the queen larvae cells, because this is where the largest amount of the Royal Jelly is deposited.
There is little point in trying to collect Royal Jelly from honeycombs of the worker larvae because it is fed directly to these types of larvae, and they immediately consume all of it.
On the other hand, the queen bee larvae are fed such large amounts of the Royal Jelly that the larvae is not able to completely consume all of it, which makes it most practical to target the queen honeybees, in order to find excess that can be collected.
On average, out of a normal hive that is managed well over the time period of six months, about 500g of Royal Jelly can be gathered. However, the substance is highly perishable if taken outside of the hive, thus cultivators must place it immediately into a cold storage area.
The Royal Jelly needs to be stored in this cold area until it is taken to a collection centre or sold. Some cultivators believe that adding beeswax or honey to the Royal Jelly will help to preserve it.
Within the colonies of a hive, the Jelly’s main role is to help certain chosen larvae develop into queen bees that can produce offspring. It has been found that all bees have the same genomes, but Royal Jelly is able to awaken the part of the DNA that creates gene structure similar to queen bees.