One of the most valuable and expensive beekeeping products is royal jelly. This is a nutritious, useful and phenomenal component that is part of cosmetics, as well as used in traditional medicine. What is it and how to get it yourself in your home apiary, we will understand further.
What it is?
“Royal jelly” or natural milk is a product that bee larvae feed on. The secret is produced from the hypopharyngeal and maxillary glands of young bees and is a substance resembling cream or white jelly.
The value of milk is due to its unique composition. In total, nectar contains about 400 active substances. 70% of the substance consists of water, but the remaining 30% is super useful dry matter:
- proteins that are close in properties to blood serum proteins;
- carbohydrates (fructose, sucrose, glucose);
- fats (phospholipids, sterols, glycerides, decenoic acids);
- vitamins of group B, A, C, D, E;
- hormones (estradiol, progesterone, testosterone);
- amino acids;
- essential fatty acids;
- neurotransmitter acetylcholine;
- 57-kDa protein (royalactin);
- 10-hydroxy-2-decanoic acid.
100 g of product contains 139 kcal.
The product has a positive effect on the body:
- increases the overall resistance of the body, strengthening immunity;
- improves the gastrointestinal tract, as it affects the enzymatic composition of the gastric juice, intestinal motility and bile secretion;
- normalizes blood sugar;
- has an antiviral effect;
- lowers cholesterol;
- normalizes blood pressure;
- has a regenerative effect on tissues;
- increases the level of endurance, maintains activity, promotes muscle building, therefore it is used by athletes and amateurs of physical exertion;
- enhances libido, normalizes hormonal levels;
- increases lactation and activates the work of the mammary glands;
- strengthens nails and hair;
- smoothes wrinkles;
- normalizes the central nervous system, improves attention, concentration, memory.
How does it appear?
The process of milk formation is simple. It is produced by bees 6-15 days of age in the process of eating bee bread or bee bread.
Perga is flower pollen collected and processed by bees, placed in honeycomb cells and filled with honey.
It is when eating the bee bread that the bee-nurse produces the substance in the maxillary and pharyngeal glands, with which they fill a special wax cell - the mother liquor, where the egg is placed, which is intended for breeding the future uterus. Thus, the larva that emerges from the egg simply bathes in milk, which not only nourishes it, but also protects it from bacteria.
Safety rules for the extraction of milk
They come down to the beekeeper observing special hygiene standards:
- before carrying out any work with raw materials, put on sterile clothing and a four-layer gauze bandage, as well as disinfect hands with an antiseptic;
- sterilize instruments and containers for storing products;
- use containers that are made of glass or aluminum.
All work on the extraction of raw materials must be carried out in a separate room, similar to the laboratory. It is important to disinfect in it, to prevent direct sunlight, to ensure the correct temperature (+ 25 ... + 27 ° C) and high humidity.
Traditional mining methods
Under natural conditions, bees produce very little valuable product. The uterus itself receives the largest amount, for which the bees also build queen cells. There are three classic ways to get such a valuable secret:
- Silent change of the uterus . Only a couple of cells are laid, from which a small amount of product is collected. In this regard, it is used extremely rarely.
- Swarm . In this case, the bees pull a lot of queen cells, but experienced beekeepers try not to resort to this method, since there is a high probability of loss of bees.
- Orphanage family . This is the most popular and effective traditional method in which the bees lay a lot of queen cells. The exact amount depends on the breed of bees. Most of them are pulled by gray mountain Caucasian bees - an average of 50-60 pieces at a time.
To realize the orphanage of the family, experienced beekeepers adhere to the following instructions:
- Strong bee family divided into two halves. To do this, put a blank fence (dividing lattice) in the hive, so that a smaller part of the hive comes to the uterus. As a result, one half remains with the uterus, and the second without. It is this orphaned half, following instincts, seeks to "acquire" their uterus and secrete royal milk.
- Into the orphaned part, introduce several frames with feed and one frame with one-day sowing, on which the bees will pull the cells. Here, leave as much bee seeding as possible, since in the future this will allow you to get a lot of nurse-shoulders.
- On the 6-8 day of the orphanage of the family, select the frame and put a new one. If you do this earlier, the bees will not have time to give the larvae the right amount of food. If you select later, then the developing larva will use more food, so you get less valuable product.
- Instead of seeding frames, you can use cut honeycombs by attaching them to the bottom of an empty frame or by hanging strips in several rows. From them, the bees will form cells in which the harvested product will accumulate. There is another option - to buy artificial bowls and transfer larvae (genter's honeycomb) into them, and then put them on a family and get mother liquors. So, you can apply a bee family several times.
- To reunite the used family with the separated part of the family to bring out a new “queen” (uterus) in it.
It is recommended to extract royal jelly from the orphaned part of the family for a month. During this time, you can put new larvae into the family 4 times and get queen cells.
An experienced beekeeper shares his experience in organizing an orphanage of a family, by creating a small layering:
New mining methods
Beekeepers resort not only to traditional methods, but also to newer methods:
- Miller . 4 triangles of wax sheets are fixed on the frame, having stood 5 cm from the lower bar. This design is placed between two brood frames. It works as follows - the bees draw out the wax, and the uterus lays the larvae. Then the brood frame is taken out, thinned out and placed in a strong orphaned family. Bees begin to pull queen cells and after 3 days it is already possible to collect the first royal jelly, and then put a new frame.
- Transfer of larvae in wax bowls . They are made independently. To do this, use a blank of wood with a diameter of 8-10 cm. It is pre-cooled in the refrigerator. Then in a water bath melt the purest wax. The cooled billet is immersed in wax a couple of times, and after cooling it is rotated to form a bowl. Larvae are transferred into it using a spatula. After 3 days, you can remove the queen cells and substitute new bowls.
- Jenter . The beekeeper found that royal jelly can be obtained without transferring larvae. The method involves the use of plastic honeycombs - a plastic bottom-cap with a larva is removed and attached to the beehive to the frame.
Wax cells should be refrigerated in airtight containers. The optimum temperature is + 3 ° C. So they can be stored for a year, however, all the useful properties of the product will be lost!
How to collect?
The product can be removed from the mother liquors immediately, but can be for 6-7 days. The process of collecting it is not easy, because it requires the beekeeper to possess certain skills and compliance with hygiene standards. First of all, you need to stock up on certain equipment:
- a new scalpel, blade and knife - for cutting queen cells;
- glass plastic sticks, a syringe - to collect the product from the mother liquors;
- a special glass container for storing the product;
- lighting devices, as the product immediately loses its properties when exposed to direct sunlight.
Having prepared all the inventory and having selected the frame with the queen cells, the beekeeper can perform the following actions:
- Disinfect hands, and sterilize milk containers.
- Place the frame on a wooden surface previously rubbed with alcohol.
- Cut the mother liquors together with the larvae with a heated medical scalpel from the combs. Act fast.
- Place the milk in an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator.
In the next video, the home beekeeper will tell and show how he collects and packs the product in question:
How much and how can I store?
The extraction of royal jelly is not the most popular activity among beekeepers precisely because this product quickly deteriorates. In its pure form, without any additional measures, the milk can be stored for only 2 hours. An expired product is absolutely safe, but it does not have any useful properties!
If some rules are followed, the shelf life can be extended up to 2 years. To do this, you can use the following methods:
- Adsorption . In this case, a mixture consisting of 98% lactose and 2% glucose is added to 1 part of royal jelly. Triturate to a dense uniform consistency and hermetically sealed in an opaque glass bottle. Shelf life is extended up to 2 years at a temperature of -18 ° C.
- Lyophilization . It is applied in the industry. First, the product is frozen for 3 hours at a temperature of -35-40 ° C, and then sublimation is carried out using vacuum. The procedure lasts 2 days. After dehydration, royal jelly retains a moisture content of 2%. The shelf life of the product in this form is 2 years at temperatures up to + 20 ° C.
Some add honey or alcohol to royal jelly to increase their shelf life, but nothing is known about the beneficial properties of such mixtures!
Royal jelly must be stored in an inorganic glass container, which must be hermetically sealed, since this also affects the shelf life.
According to GOST 28888-90, royal jelly in its pure form is a rapidly deteriorating product. It is allowed to contain it exclusively in glass containers of 300-500 g, filled with wax on top. Storage temperature - from -10 ° C to -6 ° C. Shelf life - no more than two hours.
So, the production of royal jelly is a complex process that requires compliance with a number of rules. Although modern beekeepers know the methods that are most effective in collecting the secret, it remains the most valuable and expensive beekeeping product to this day.