State agriculture officials say beekeepers lost 50 to 80 percent of their honeybees over the winter, threatening the farming industry.
Honeybees have also faced increasing numbers of diseases, pests and pesticides that have thinned colonies in recent years. Ohio farmers rely on bees to pollinate more than 70 crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says honeybees pollinate more than 14 billion dollars worth of American crops each year.Last year, Ohio had nearly 44 hundred registered beekeepers who tended an estimated 37 thousand colonies. Since 2008, the number of beekeepers has increased by 27 percent.