Royal Jelly is a proteinaceous secretion of the honey bee’s hypopharynx gland. They are only noted in the Worker Bee as both Drones and Queens do not have them.
Researcher Masaki Kamakura, demonstrated the presence of a protein known as royalactin increases the size and ovary development as well as hortens developmental time in honeybees Manukahealth.co.nz
The hypopharyngeal gland is a pair of long-glands coiled to the side of the honey bee’s head. The ducts of the gland are on the suboral plate of the hypopharynx which begins just inside the bee’s mouth where two very large glands are noted Getbuzzingaboutbees . The activity of the gland is age dependent with Nurse Bees exhibiting the greatest activity. The secretion of the gland is rich in proteins. Workers utilizing the hypopharyngeal gland consume more pollen. The glands are less developed in bees that are starved, infected with Varroa, exposed to carbon dioxide or other anaesthetics. Honeybee.drawwing.org
In the young Nurse Bees these glands function in the feeding of larvae, while as the bee matures they change their secretion to invertase, which is the change agent for converting or inverts sugars getbuzzingaboutbees.
This same gland also functions to produce heptanone, an alarm scent, to alert bees to the presence of danger.
Royal Jelly, fed to the Queen, transforms her into one and a half times the normal worker size and causes the Queen’s reproductive organs to grow into full funcitonality. The Queen then lives over five years.
It is a complex mixture of proteins (12%), sugar (12%), fats (6%) and variable amounts of minerals vitamins and pheromones. About 15% of royal jelly is 10-hydroxy-trans-(2)-decanoic acid (HDA), which is probably the substance that causes the queen bee to grow so large. Royal jelly is particularly rich in B vitamins, with pantothenic acid dominating. hchs.edu