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How royal jelly helps honeybee larvae defy gravity and become queens

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How royal jelly helps honeybee larvae defy gravity and become queens

Post by Dragon on Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:15 am

Honeybee larvae develop into queen bees only when they are fed large quantities of a food known as royal jelly. But royal jelly does more than determine whether a larva becomes a queen: it also keeps her safely anchored to the roof of the structure, called a queen cell, in which she develops. Research published in Current Biology on March 15 explains the role that the pH of royal jelly plays in making the substance viscous enough to keep the queen-to-be from falling.

"Royal jelly is kind of viscous and sticky and jelly-like; that's why it's called 'jelly.' It's like a mixture of marmalade and honey," says senior author Anja Buttstedt, a molecular ecologist who performed the study at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. And like jam in a jar turned upside down, it's viscous enough to cling to the ceiling of the queen cell and to keep the larva hanging as she grows.

Larvae destined to become queens don't have to hang to develop properly. But they are too large to fit into the cells of the hive's honeycomb, and often the only place on the hive with enough room for the queen cells is hanging off the bottom of it. While other larvae are fed small amounts of food jelly directly, the worker bees stuff it into the queen cell in vast quantities, building up a sticky mass that both feeds the larva and keeps her in place.

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Re: How royal jelly helps honeybee larvae defy gravity and become queens

Post by Dragon on Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:16 am



The Queen Bee and her Royal Jelly.

 
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Re: How royal jelly helps honeybee larvae defy gravity and become queens

Post by Dragon on Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:18 am



Amazing Time-Lapse: Bees Hatch Before Your Eyes.

 
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