Unless its like a trade secret or something, how would one harvest royal jelly?
I would love to know that answer to this one. I've never seen it done nor seen it documented.
Greetings . . .
Royal jelly is usually produced in colonies maintained for that purpose. The queen is removed and a frame containing artifical queen cells, each with a 12 - 36 hr old worker larva is inserted. Three days later the frame is removed, the larvae discarded, and the royal jelly collected either with a wooden spoon or soft suction tube.
...Source: The Hive and the Honey Bee, 1992Ed, p972
Ive never seen it done either but it is essentially the same process as raising queens. They use a slightly different (larger) cell cup that gets packed with royal jelly. I was given some of them but have never used them....these happen to be on a strip with 15 plastic cups all attached together. On large scale operations, I believe they use a little vacuum device with a filter to suck it out of the cups.
I wonder if someone has or could rig a rack like this with a tub from each of the cups to the outside where it would suction it off constantly. That way the bees would fill it that much faster to make up for it?
I would like some for priming queen cell cups, plus, maybe it would be a profitable prodcut.
yeah, i have seen it sold for $24.00 for 2 ounces.
Most of the it comes from the Tawain. Not very much is produced in the states to the best of my knowledge - Check it out on google.com
I sell a fair amount of honey at health food stores. Every couple of months I always get the same questions....do you have pollen or royal jelly. I dont produce either one so the answer is no. I suspect if a person invested the time looking for the right location/market he/she could find at least a niche market for royal jelly.
Not sure how many cells it takes to make an ounce worth but there is a fair amount of jelly in a three day old cell before the larvae starts really gourging.
Yesterday I destroyed a couple of queen cells just in case, and one had a lot of this white mass at the bottom. I assume it is royal jelly. I tasted it. It has a sour taste, and there is a lot of it in each cell.
Michael, the tube idea is good, but i suspect it would get sealed first thing before the bees start filling it?
I suppose the trick would be to have it buried in royal jelly and have it only take out some, but not quite all of it. That way they would continure to try to fill it and it would continue to remove it and they wouldn't see it under the small amount of royal jelly still at the bottom.
Also, I wonder how it keeps? I suppose you have to refrigerate it? Freeze it?
To make 100% pure royal jelly to sell, it is a time consuming process. Alot of the "Royal jelly" stuff on the market is some "base" product and then fortified or royal jelly added. It is not true royal jelly with most capsule/pill form and IF (big if) it is, its very expensive.
If you could or would want to market it with a wide area in mind, you may make it work. On a local level, considering the time and expense, and limited demand, you would do better flipping burgers somewhere.
Honey, queens, nucs, woodeware, pollen, pollination service, are all better ways to enjoy beekeeping and make money on the side.
I agree, I was going to say something similar, but was afraid of sounding stupid if I was not even in the ballpark. I cannot see how $24 for 2oz amount of royal jelly can even be slightly profitable. That is a WHOLE LOT of royal jelly.
Lets just put it this way, and this is not a direct analogy by any means and the margin of error is in FAVOR of profitibility, and you can STILL see how unprofitable it must be if that's the price you can garner from royal jelly.
Lets image that each queen cell has perhaps the equivelent of 1 drop of water in volume of royal jelly produced (this a VERY VERY generous analogy). Queen bees don't get "more" royal jelly than other cell, they get the same daily amount as the rest of the brood, they are simply given royal jelly for a greater number of days. So each cell has the equivelent of 1 drop of water's worth of volume of royal jelly. How many drops of water is required to fill a 2oz container? Well I can't tell you how many drops exactly but I can tell you that a standard can of soda or beer is 16 oz. So you must fill 1/8 of a can of soda ( just to show how large 2oz. is )
So how many drops is that? Again I don't really know, and i am not going to test it, but is more than a couple hundred drops, its probably somewhere closer to 1,000 or more drops. How could one get 1,000 drops of water's worth of royal jelly and sell it for $24?
No way in hell if you ask me.