COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio beekeepers lost 50 to 60 percent of loss of colonies over the winter, according to the Ohio Dept of Agriculture. It's something that could have a big impact on the state's agriculture industry.

"We rely on honeybees to pollinate more than 70 crops such as strawberries, apples, and pumpkins," said Brett Gates with the Ohio Dept of Agriculture.

The cold wasn't the only issue honeybees had to deal with. Colonies have faces higher numbers of disease, pests, and pesticides in recent years.

"Over the last 5 years we've seen about a 5 percent increase in viruses affecting colonies," said Gates.

At the same time conditions have gotten tougher for bees, the number of colonies in Ohio has increased. Gates says more and more people are turning to beekeeping in recent years.

"We have seen an uptick here of around 27 percent since around 2008," said Gates.

Last year, Ohio had nearly 4,400 beekeepers registered in the state.