DANVILLE — Bees need to visit two million blossoms to produce one pound of honey, Dr. William Blodgett, optometrist, scuba diver and beekeeper, told children and adults in the Thomas Beaver Free Library.
He said a female worker bee will collect from 50 to 100 blossoms before returning to the hive during the summer quest "A Universe of Stories" program Thursday. The bee accumulates the pollen on her back legs made sticky from nectar she regurgitates, he said.
A bee can travel a few miles to collect nectar and pollen, he said.
Blodgett said he has about 18 hives on his Danville area property with the peak bee season being July and August and about 80,000 bees in each hive.
Blodgett, who was wearing a beekeeper's suit, said he found honey bees fascinating 42 years ago in seventh grade while reading stories about bees.
"Bees are very important in pollinating," he said of fruits and vegetables such as bananas and blueberries. "Pennsylvania has 120 plants that need to be pollinated by bees," he said. Pesticides and a mite are killing the bee population that has been decreasing since 2007, he said.
He explained the three types of bees — the queen that lays about 2,000 eggs a day, the male drones that mate with the queen and the female worker.
While bees are vegetarians, the pollen gives them their protein, he said.
One worker bee produces one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey working 24 hours a day in her lifetime, which is about six weeks in the summer, he said. They can live longer in the winter and through the winter, he said. Bees survive in winter by shivering together, resulting in a cluster of them producing 98 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.
When someone asked about the taste of the honey he makes, such as a lighter shade from pollen from black locust and a darker shade from clover, Beth Anne Lynn, library youth coordinator, said she has had many kinds of his honey with them all tasting sweet and all being delicious.
In introducing him, she also said he is an excellent photographer and helps keep coral reefs healthy.