Evaluation of hive Management techniques in production of royal jelly by honey bees (Apis mellifera) in New Zealand
R F Van Toor; R P Littlejohn
Two hive designs and two harvesting methods were evaluated in Otago, New Zealand, for their effect on yields and quality of royal jelly, and ease of management. Royal jelly yields from a queenright hive design, in which a queen excluder partially covered with a hardboard division confined the queen to the bottom brood chamber and away from the queen cells in the middle box where royal jelly was secreted, were similar to those obtained from a queenless hive design in which the queen was removed to a nucleus box. This was despite the bees clustering around the queen cells in the queenright hive having smaller hypopharyngeal glands than those in the queenless starter hive. The queenright design is recommended because of its simplicity and ease of conversion in alternating between honey and royal jelly production. Harvesting 66 h after grafting larvae resulted in similar yields to harvesting at 72 h and 78 h, indicating that beekeepers can harvest at any time on the third day without affecting production. A technique which used two harvests per graft is not recommended. The chemical components of royal jelly within certain quality standards were not affected by the treatments. Royal jelly production suppressed honey yields by 51%.
honey bees, Apis mellifera, royal jelly, hive design, management, queenrightness, queenlessness, New Zealand