Dayton, Ohio (AP) -- It was a tough winter for Ohio's honeybees, and state agriculture officials estimate up to 70 percent of hives kept by beekeepers died.
Ohio State University honeybee specialist James Tew says that's bad news for everyone because bees of all species are fundamental to our ecosystem.
State agriculture department experts say bees annually pollinate Ohio crops worth $44 million.
That includes berries, fruits and vegetables.
And honey sales earn $1.4 million.
Ohio beekeepers today have about 30,000 hives, a quarter of the number from nearly a century ago.
Tew says the declining numbers should be a matter of public concern.
(Copyright 2010 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)